India's gaming market has the potential to grow in the years ahead, thanks to cheaper bandwidth and availability of smartphones across several price bands. However, most of this growth continues in the mobile space as gaming consoles are priced beyond the means of most casual gamers.
India's software trade body NASSCOM says the mobile games market would touch 628 million users and could be worth more than a billion dollars over the 2020-21 timeframe. It stood at just $290 million in 2016 and represents a robust growth over four years. The country also accounted for the largest number of game downloads at 2.8 billion during the first half of 2018.
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The growing number of gamers was quite evident for Epic Games as they witnessed a large number of logins from India for Fortnite, which can easily be downloaded on iOS and Android. The game is today considered the best-seller with over 350 million registered players and has generated more than $2.4 billion in revenues for the company.
India is already among the top five in the world of mobile gaming and is heading into the top three with total value estimated to ramp up substantially as well. A Cint survey done in 2018 revealed that a quarter of the respondents spent between one to three hours a week playing video games. And amongst them 35% were women who played five times each week.
Most of the gamers were in the 18-24 age bracket and their favourite game was PUBG, which was then estimated to make $7 million in revenues each month from India. Today, that number is definitely higher, given that the Covid-19 forced people to stay indoors for close to two months.
Quentin Staes-Polet, general manager at Epic Games and in-charge of India and southeast Asia feels that the gaming market continues to be nascent with the developer community yet to discover the gaming behaviour of enthusiasts in this part of the world.
In a chat with The Indian Express, Staes-Polet believes India's gaming market has shown signs of robust growth ever since bandwidth became cheap and easily available to a wider audience. “This is something that has transformed the market dramatically in a very short period of time,” he says.
However, there are several challenges. For starters, global game developers haven't really attuned to the Indian gamer behaviours. As the official from Epic Games says, the peculiarities of the region is what makes it both interesting and challenging. But, if they focus on high-quality, top-notch gaming experience, India has a low average revenue per paid user amongst the global markets.
A report from Newzoo market research said late last year that the APAC region had generated 47% of total revenues for game developers in 2019 and this number is bound to grow in the coming years. A Chennai-based game developer says that this is quite the right time for companies to get their acts together as before long, the best in the business would be making a beeline for Indian gamers.
With smartphone penetration growing rapidly, and data consumption estimated to grow 60 times between now and 2025, Indian gamers can look forward to better experiences and game developers to more revenues from this neck of the woods.