The remote gaming industry has exploded in popularity across the globe in 2020. More and more gamers than ever before are downloading gaming apps and logging in to streaming platforms. And while as much as established markets like the US and Western Europe have seen surges in the popularity of gaming online recently, so too has India.
India’s remote gaming scene has developed significantly in 2020, as smartphone and internet penetration rapidly expand across the region. The industry is currently growing at a rate of 22% year-on-year, far greater than growth that was initially predicted by KPMG-Google back in 2017. Just three short years ago, a report released by the multinational calculated that online gaming in India would pull in an audience of 190 million by 2021, and break the $1 billion revenue mark.
However, it’s looking increasingly likely that the Indian gaming market will soon surpass that.
With hundreds of thousands of new gamers getting involved in the industry on a daily basis, let’s take a look at the strongest trends the remote gaming sector in India has seen so far this year.
eSports and Real Money Gaming
In the increasingly digitized world that we’re living in, eSports has quickly risen to become one of the most popular digital industries in the world; in some cases, even attracting audiences that far outnumber those who tune in for traditional sporting events.
The Indian eSports sector may be a new entrant in the market, but it’s quickly picking up steam. Currently ranked number 17 in the global eSports industry, professional gaming in India is currently worth around $818 million. The profile of eSports in the country has been boosted by events and tournaments like DreamHack Mumbai and Delhi, COBX Masters, and ESL One Mumbai, which combined have offered entrants a total of $500,000 in prize money.
A similar trend is also being seen in the iGaming, or real money gaming, sector. The first wave of real money gaming in the country began with the emergence of regional platforms offering online rummy games. More recently, the market has expanded and now encompasses a wide range of gaming and wagering opportunities including casino and card games like poker.
According to industry statistics, Indians spent an average of $1.73 billion on online sports in 2018, and there are now over 300,000 Indian gamers who regularly visit online platforms, getting to grips with the mechanics of how to play online poker before competing in real money tournaments. Predictions have even been made that suggest the sector could grow to as much as $22.2 billion by the year 2027.
The Rise of Mobile
As of December 2019, there are around 500 million smartphone users in India. It’s no surprise, then, that much like the rest of the world, the mobile gaming sector has taken the lead as one of the most definitive remote gaming trends of the decade so far. In India, mobile gaming accounts for 85% of the online gaming market, so it’s ripe for investment and development.
Alongside mobile versions of eSports classics, the most-played mobile games by the Indian audience belong to the hypercasual and puzzle genres. Demand has reached an all-time high for these convenient, easy-to-play games, and old favourites like King’s Candy Crush Saga are just as popular as more recent releases like Fruit Ninja and Clash Royale.
While these international titles remain big hits with gamers throughout the country, localised gaming content is still heavily consumed by the Indian audience, with the likes of Gamerji and Loco both seeing a significant increase in users throughout 2020.
The mobile gaming sphere in India is now growing so rapidly that it’s set to become a major gaming hub before the end of the decade. Spurred on by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest Mann ki Baat address, in which he told the nation’s start-ups it was time to be “vocal for local toys”, Indian game developers are now outsourcing for prestigious global companies like Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Zynga, and Rockstar Games, with further plans for both local and international development on the horizon in 2021.