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Inside India’s Top Gaming Trends

Inside India’s Top Gaming Trends
July 27
19:32 2020

With a population of over 1.3 billion, India is emerging as a powerful market in certain tech industries, particularly in the world of gaming. Gaming is widespread across the globe, but in recent months the Indian market has really been making its presence felt in the industry. Consumers are downloading mobile games at a rate that can’t be ignored, and powerhouse gaming companies are displaying an increased interest in launching region-specific projects and collaborations in the country. 

Within the first few months of this year, online gaming activity within the country ramped up at a substantial rate of 21%. India may still be considered a developing country, but the eyes of the world are quickly turning to our shores to see what’s hot and what’s not in the world of gaming. With a number of exciting developments on the horizon, let’s take a look at some of the key trends that are on the rise right now in the Indian gaming scene. 

Gaming on the go

For much of the last decade, Indian residents may well have been behind the curve when it came to smartphone adoption. However, in recent years they’ve more than made up for that as smartphone penetration is now at an all-time high within the country. The widespread availability of 4G technology combined with affordable handsets has made mobile gaming all the more accessible throughout the country, particularly in the more remote regions, where not too long ago poor quality connectivity meant that smartphones were obsolete. 

Consequently, Indians have embraced mobile gaming’s potential with open arms. Last year, the highest number of global app downloads was generated by gamers in India, while the sector as a whole is expected to be worth over $940 million by 2022, according to Mobile Marketing Association. This will show an estimated growth of over 200% from 2016, an increase that’s reflected in the number of mobile gamers in the country: 368 million by 2022, compared to the 269 million in 2019. 

Perhaps surprisingly, a number of key gaming development houses are making major investments into the Indian market, such as Tencent Games. The company behind China’s number 1 selling mobile game Honor of Kings, Tencent also owns Riot Games and is a significant shareholder in Epic Games and Supercell. Now that India has come to this big player’s attention, it won’t be long before others follow. 

Real money mindsports

Online poker is a mainstay in the global iGaming (or real money gaming) industry and a sector that Indians are becoming truly excited about. Although still very much in its developmental stages, the online poker market in India is estimated to make up a significant chunk of the 3 million poker players in the country. Indian gamers regularly compete in online tournaments, cash games, and “play” money beginner level competitions that follow the same format as those offered by US platforms. And much like the US market, which is also still in its early stages, the Indian scene is growing by the day.

Inside India's Top Gaming Trends

At present, the industry is worth approximately 4,380 crores (according to KPMG & Google), but by 2023 it is expected to grow at a rate of 22.1% to reach as much as 11,880 crores. The market for online real money card gaming has been growing consistently at a rate of 35-40% year on year, but a surge of interest in gaming platforms and apps during Spring 2020 has meant that some operators have seen their user base swell by as much as 25% in just one month. 

The accessibility of gaming platforms is a key driver in this growth, particularly for residents who aren’t in the vicinity of a brick and mortar casino. There’s also an emerging trend for women in poker in the country, headed up by pro player Muskan Sethi. 

eSports is another hot topic in the global gaming industry, and it’s especially hot right now here in India. In recent years, the universally popular PlayerUnknown BattleGrounds (PUBG) Mobile game has been synonymous with Indian eSports, due to the game’s regional accessibility and overall appeal. Here in 2020, however, eSports is expanding at a rapid pace and there have been a number of key developments and partnerships established in the region by other major pro gaming brands and organizations. 

Riot Games has officially announced it will be hosting a pro-level tournament in India, the Teamfight Tactics: Galaxies Championship, as well as revealing plans to launch exclusive India-based servers for its Valorant game. Meanwhile, its flagship game League of Legends is also due to be released to Indian residents soon, which is set to open up even further opportunities for collaboration in the region.

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