Will 2018 be good for the online gaming industry?

    19th Mar 2018
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    India has gone digital is a testament that does not warrant any proofs. From ordering the next meal to keeping in touch with their peers, online mediums have become a hit with the Indian consumers. However, the revolution is not just limited to online commerce. Even when it comes to gaming, India has significantly on-boarded the digital platforms.

    The trend becomes clearly visible amongst various Indians indulging in a game or two while commuting or killing time. Even at various informal shindigs, house parties etc, while the traditional board games may be missing, the fun and frolics ensue online.

    Despite only 30% penetration of smartphones, India currently ranks amongst the top in the total number of game downloads on Google Play Story. In addition to mobile apps, various gamers continue to find their tribe at online gaming platforms. Taking stock of the present day environment, the revolution shall continue to grow in the current year.

    The Growth Stimuli to Online Gaming

    Online gaming has been enjoying its successful run in India. The revolution has been led by the wave of digitization sweeping across the country, along with easy affordability of smartphones and mobile internet.

    In the past, gaming required expensive consoles; even the price of personal computers was high, making the reach of online gaming limited to the elite, upper or middle class section of the society. However, the same laid the foundation for online gaming in India. Additionally, with the advent of smartphones and handheld devices, the status quo was disrupted.

    In the past few years, the smartphone prices have continued to plummet. Furthermore, with the entry of Reliance Jio, it suddenly became very convenient to enjoy round the clock access to high-speed internet. The trend made its ripples felt across the telecom sector, with various key players caught in the frenzy of reducing costs and providing better services, in order to retain their customers.

    Everyday users emerged as the primary beneficiaries of this frenzy. Not only could they afford a high-performing smartphone without burning a hole in their pocket, their handheld devices were now powered with an all-time access to Internet. Together, these developments created a strong impetus for the growth of online gaming.

    Here’s to newer formats and a promising future

    The New Year 2018 has inherited this trend, with India continuing to witness a rise in the number of smartphone users. The recent report by the US-based media company, Zenith, validates the same. As estimated in the report, the total number of smartphone users in India is going to be 530 million in 2018. As the new users are ushered into the ecosystem, online gaming will continue to enjoy a consistent increase in its user-base.

    With massive growth awaiting Indian online gaming market in the years ahead, one should also expect the acceptance of several new formats. For instance, the Nagaland government passed a landmark ruling, giving license to an online poker platform. At the same time, poker has been gaining popularity and acceptance across the globe, as a game of skill. In fact, eminent institutions like MIT, Harvard, and IIMs have started courses in poker, realizing how the game uses tenants of psychology and game theory. Owing to its massive acceptance and global appeal, the format should be recognized in India, with different state and central government following suit of the precedence set by the Nagaland government.

    Along with the growth of smartphone users, as mentioned above, a report jointly released by Google and KPMG further clears the air regarding India’s bright future for online gaming. As per the report, 190 new online gamers are slated to come into the fold by 2021, making the tally of total online gamers 310 million. Furthermore, as an industry, the online gaming market will be other USD 1 Billion, in the next three years. This is a steep rise when compared to USD 360 million, the current value of the online gaming sector. Thus, the online gaming industry is witnessing an inflection point and would be counted amongst the largest and fastest-growing base of online gamers, across the globe. 

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