There is no doubt that ‘Gaming’ can count itself among the top booming industries and the year 2022 is an obvious testimony to it. India is emerging as a gaming hub with huge untapped potential yet to be explored. India’s gaming market was valued at $2.6 billion in FY 2022, and it will be worth $8.6 billion by 2027 as it clocks a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27 per cent, highlighted in an industry report. As we come to the end of the year, let us look back at how the industry performed and what new innovations did players bring to the table.
The exponential rise in gamers, a clear indication of the growing market
2022 has been a unique year where globally we saw an increase in game downloads, the spend in games has fallen this year vs. 2021. This is mainly from the macroeconomic challenges in 2022. Fortunately, things have been slightly different in India, where we have had growth in downloads and game spend. India has 507 million gamers out of which 120 million are paying users in 2022, according to the report by Lumikai, a gaming-focused venture capital fund. India also has the largest number of game downloads in the world at 15 billion. This is a clear indication of the rapidly increasing gamer base in the country, where gaming is considered mainstream entertainment like OTT players and television.
RMG (Real Money Gaming) accounts for more than half of the revenue in India for 2022 followed by mid-core games (like BGMI, Free Fire). Around half of players in India are motivated by the possibility of making money (which explains rise of RMG) and in-game cosmetics (success of battle royale games).
The end of 2021 saw Facebook going heavy on Metaverse and transforming to Meta. 2022 has not been promising so far for the metaverse but we remain hopeful. In cloud gaming, Google announced the shutdown of Stadia due to lack luster user adoption. One of the challenges that cloud gaming has is the internet bandwidth usage. The recent launch of 5G has proved to be a catalyst to increase the number of gamers on various platforms, encouraged gaming creators, players, and companies to upscale and upgrade. Entertainment with experience is the new ask when it comes to the younger generation and 5G has made this requirement a reality.
If 2021 was the year Web3 games rocket ship took off, 2022 is the year it came back down crashing. The underlying crypto currency valuation fall plus incidents such as the hack in Axie Infinity amounting to a $650M loss or the collapse of LUNA crypto network or the bankruptcy of FTX, did not help the cause. Web 3 gaming has enabled the play to earn economy in many countries and motivation to earn is strong in the Indian players. 30% of the 450 Indian Web3 companies operate in gaming. The current bear market should have only the serious developers working on Web3 games resulting in better games in near future.
Talent pool, the real assets of the gaming industry
Gaming has not only created waves in terms of investments and monetisation but has also hugely contributed to India Inc. when it comes to the job market. The 2022 budget had the finance minister announce India’s decision to set up an AVGC (animation, visual effects, gaming, and comic) promotion task force. India today can proudly boast of skilled gaming talent where gaming has supported and contributed to job creation. The new investment should be generating employment opportunities for the youth skilled in fields such as graphic design, game design, creative writing, storytelling, user experience researchers, data analysts, software programmers. Gaming could expand from being a niche to a mainstream industry.
In conclusion, the year 2022 was a successful year for the gaming ecosystem with promising potential for the new year. The industry is ever evolving, and we will witness immense possibilities with greater opportunities for the gaming universe. Gaming is only going to get bigger and better, with latest disruptive technologies, high-speed internet, and the world of sophisticated gamers.
(This article has been contributed by Zynga associate general manager Gins Lukachan, and AnimationXpress does not necessarily subscribe to these views)