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What Does the Future Look Like for India's Gaming Sector?

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What Does the Future Look Like for India's Gaming Sector?

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Overall, there has been a rise in female gamers in India as more and more women are acquiring smartphones, according to Salone. “The majority of that age group is 15-30 years with nearly a 50:50 gender split. These kinds of data points have been unprecedented in India previously”, she said.

CNBCTV18.com's Republic Of Games, in collaboration with Akamai Technologies, discusses various aspects of the gaming sector in India.
This includes the impact of COVID-19, how it has changed the trends in the sector, security concerns in the face of increasing cybercrime, and what it will take for the Indian gaming sector to be able to reach global standards.
This discussion, titled 'Gaming 2.0 - Preparing for the Next Frontier' discusses the answers to various questions:
1. Has COVID 19 opened up opportunities for the Indian gaming sector?
2. What does it take to build a truly global gaming brand from India?
3. How has player behaviour changed during the pandemic, and how can companies make this experience far more engaging and secure for the user?
4. What are the investment opportunities like in India's gaming sector?
Major Insights in the Gaming Sector in India
Manish Agarwal, CEO at Nazara Technologies, stated that the number of people playing games has shot up during the pandemic, so has the amount of time spent on them, along with their acceptance in society.
“Parents have understood that the screen is inevitable... We can't really do any outdoor sports, so there's a lot more acceptance and understanding of what gaming really offers, and they're enjoying it”, he stated.
Rajan Navani, Vice Chairman, MD and CEO, JetSynthesys, spoke about how the lockdown has accelerated digital engagement like never before, particularly with gaming which uses up a lot of time.
“Across all our games, we saw downloads increase by 40-60%, and with some of our games, the engagement went up by 100%. This is already of a base where people were spending 35-40 minutes a day, now spending much longer”, he pointed out.
The Future Is Female
Salone Seghal, General Partner at Lumukai, was asked about the impact of COVID-19 on interactive entertainment and the insights on trends about women playing.
Stating that gaming has always been countercyclical - a poor economy has always fuelled gaming in the past, she said, “There was a 150% increase in data broadband connections in Q1, and that has meant that gaming has been the large beneficiary from it... Nearly 67% of the internet audience in India is playing games, and that is a phenomenal number...”
Overall, there has been a rise in female gamers in India as more and more women are acquiring smartphones, according to Salone. “The majority of that age group is 15-30 years with nearly a 50:50 gender split. These kinds of data points have been unprecedented in India previously”, she said.
Changing Player Preferences
One of the other questions discussed was also about player preferences and whether real-money games were doing better. Fantasy gaming was also discussed along with games based on sports.
To this, Bhavin Pandya, CEO, Games 24x7, stated, “Games 24x7 does skill-games for real money, so mostly Rummy and fantasy sports. What we've seen is that a lot of the players, when the lockdown started, came on to play these sports as they had a lot of time... In fact, our reactivation was off the charts.”
The initial spike, he said, inevitably came down as people started getting back to work and making a livelihood. Fantasy sports, he said, was different, but with the return of live-action sports like cricket with the IPL, there has been a significant boost.
On the subject of fantasy sports, Saurabh Chopra, CEO, BalleBaazi, added quite interestingly that, “COVID has done to gaming what demonetization had done to digital payments almost four years ago.”
What the Next Frontier Looks Like - Investments, Security and Scalability
Jonathan Singer, Sr. Industry Strategist - Gaming, Akamai Technologies, was asked about Akamai's role in the gaming sector in India, the opportunities and insights. With a global perspective on the subject, he said, “At a global level, we work with the world's largest gaming platforms and games' publishers.” He continued, “If I were to give a COVID-related example, we had earlier this year a single customer on our platform hosting a single large event, which drove an Exabyte of traffic in seven days... So we're deeply embedded in the gaming space at a global level.”
He observed that there was an even distribution in terms of the age of people who play games. Nostalgia plays a huge role in India, he stated, especially with a game like LUDO King coming back and reminding people that they used to enjoy it in the past. There's also been a massive change in attitudes towards gaming, he said. Before COVID, gaming disorder was seen negatively, but during the pandemic, the WHO has also been encouraging people to play games as it's great for social distancing
He observed that there was an even distribution in terms of the age of people who play games. Nostalgia plays a huge role in India, he stated, especially with a game like LUDO King coming back and reminding people that they used to enjoy it in the past.
There's also been a massive change in attitudes towards gaming, he said. Before COVID, gaming disorder was seen negatively, but during the pandemic, the WHO has also been encouraging people to play games as it's great for social distancing.
The Key to Understanding India's Larger Role in the Global Market
At the very foundation of understanding India's role in the global gaming sector, and the sector in its present state itself, Salone pointed out that there was a big difference between the Indian gamer and the Western gamer, with both having different user-behaviours.
Western gamers, she said, have been through the whole cycle - they were arcade gamers, then became PC gamers, and then finally moved to their mobiles. They also used different gaming models.
Indians, on the other hand, are largely first-time mobile gamers and also first-time smartphone users, making for an overall very complex digital sociology. This diversity, according to her, makes this a golden age for gaming content developers.
In Closing
Geopolitical tensions leading to the ban on games like PUBG, understanding the domestic market for games in India, tackling security threats and ensuring scalability are fundamental to the growth of India's gaming industry.
Thus, India is poised to use its capabilities and become a larger player in the global gaming industry.
-This is a partnered post.
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