|The rapid digitalisation and transformation, increasing internet usage and rising smartphone penetration in India has given birth to another side product, which has become a formidable entity by now. The Indian gaming industry is all set to be on a high growth trajectory.
See the data : Gaming has become one of the fastest-growing sunrise industries in India. It has clocked 40% growth in 2019–20. The Gaming industry generated US$ 1.5 billion in net revenue during this period and is expected to surpass US$ 5 billion by 2025.
The domestic gaming industry is expected to create 10,000–12,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2023. In the following two years, it is expected to attract US$ 100 million in foreign direct investment (FDI). Prospects for the industry are so bright that the big conglomerates such as Reliance are planning to enter the industry to India’s first homegrown triple-A title.
The unique advantages with the Indian gaming industry include Internet affordability and growing smartphone penetration in the country. Access to the Internet in India is one of the cheapest in the world. 1 GB of mobile data in India costs US$ 0.26 only, whilst the global average is US$ 8.53. This has led to approximately 46% of people in the country being active internet users. In India, the average monthly mobile data usage stands at 14.6 gigabytes (GB) compared to 11 GB in the US.
As far as Smartphone penetration is concerned, India has 502.2 million smartphone users, with smartphone penetration at 36.7%. In the first quarter of 2021, India’s smartphone shipments increased by 23% year on year to over 38 million devices. The use of smartphones has risen with the advent of more gaming-friendly handsets supported by faster processing capabilities.
Some of the other key growth drivers for gaming in India, besides the need for virtual entertainment, include India’s unique and significant demographic advantage of 46% of the population being under the age of 25 and 67% in the working class (ages 15–64) is again at full play here. Demography is considered a major factor for growth in the gaming industry. According to a survey the Indian online gaming market was on a strong growth trajectory even before the pandemic. However, COVID-19, and the ensuing lockdowns and WFH models, provided a tipping point in terms of how Online casual gaming has emerged as a major channel both in terms of the game base at 420 Mn in FY21, and the revenue contribution to the gaming industry at INR 60 bn (of the total gaming industry size of INR 136 bn in FY21). According to the same study, nearly 75–80% of the respondents between the group of 18–24 and 25–36 reported playing at least one to three times a week.
Simultaneously, Indians have shown a quicker learning curve for increasingly sophisticated games. Almost all modern complicated games are consumed in India very quickly, as compared to global averages.
This meteoric rise of the gaming industry in India has augured very well for the individual content creator industry, leading to its growth. Gaming in India has created a new source of monetisation. Currently, there are 920 gaming start-ups in India, with Mumbai being the headquarters for the top players in this domain.
The government of India too has undertaken several initiatives to boost growth in the domestic gaming industry. These include setting up of the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic (AVGC) Centre for Excellence and Collaboration with IIT Bombay.
100% foreign direct investment (FDI) is already permitted in gaming. India’s flagship programme, Digital India, along with the government’s Digital Village scheme and providence of digital infrastructure are boosting Internet usage in rural India and increasing smartphone penetration, helping the gaming industry simultaneously.
On September 14, 2020, NITI Aayog organised a consultation programme for industry participants to facilitate good governance, growth, and innovation.
The Ministry of Education is working on policies to create job opportunities for students in online gaming and toys. The Smart India Hackathon was conducted in India to help students showcase their online gaming skills.