Mobile gaming has undeniably witnessed a massive spike in recent years, and nowhere is its impact more prominent than in India. For the longest time, gaming was considered a somewhat exclusive form of entertainment in this country. During the late 1990s and much of the early 2000s, it was only accessible to a small portion of the population. There are many reasons for this: Game variations were limited, gaming consoles were not easy to come by, and costs were high.
Since then, however, the situation has pretty much been flipped on its head. India is now one of the most lucrative markets in the world for the gaming industry thanks to the rapid expansion of smartphones and affordable internet data. Currently, more than 220 million Indians spend an average of 42 minutes daily playing mobile games. NASSCOM data has also estimated that the mobile gaming market in the country will hit 628 million players by the end of next year, resulting in a market worth $1 billion.
It was the proliferation of smartphones that truly tapped into the potential of this market. It created a player base that’s bigger (by a large margin) than that of all existing gaming platforms combined. At the same time, online stores such as Google Play or Apple’s App Store made sure that users will never have any problem finding a game to spend their time on.
Titles with multiplayer aspects such as Clash of Clans or Candy Crush Saga – where players competed against one another no progress – only served to further push this trend forward. Then as technology grows, better data plans start to emerge, offering faster and more reliable internet connection. Meanwhile, smartphone hardware is also getting more powerful by the day. These factors have allowed games originally designed for PC and consoles to make the jump over to the mobile platform.
Battle royale titles like PUBG and Fortnite – where up to a hundred players are put in an arena and must compete in real-time to be the last one standing – are prime examples of this. What sets these titles apart from the single-player FPS games of the past is their social components, which gives players from all over the globe the opportunity to play together.
While the rise of mobile gaming has pushed the global gaming market to a new height of success, it has also created the foundation for yet a bigger phenomenon – the post-mobile gaming market. Centered around interacting with the audience and sharing the experience, this new trend has started to blur the line between the player and the viewer and has led to the rise of massively popular streaming platforms like Discord, Twitch, or Mixer.
With ‘live-interactive games’ as their motto, livestreamers like PewDiePie and Ninja have garnered huge follower bases, which consist of both those who play games and those who don’t. Millions tune in every day to watch these people play, reply to comments, and just interact with fans in general.
Analysts have estimated that this live-interactive gaming market could reach more than 3 billion users, with the Total Available Market falling somewhere between $80 billion and $100 billion. Compared to the respective figures of the mobile gaming market – 2 billion users and $60 billion TAM, it’s clear that this model possesses enormous potential. This is due a large part to the fact that livestreaming can be appealing to even non-gamers.
Businesses will also more opportunities to interact directly with their target audiences by putting more focus on live gaming rather than on freemium mobile games. Over time, this can lead to a long-lasting and lucrative relationship with a highly active community.
While the use of smartphone and gaming habits have basically taken over all of India’s major cities, there is still a lot of potential for further expansion. By continuing to make games more accessible, especially for lower-end smartphones, and by providing supports for local languages, the mobile gaming scene of India can surely continue to grow for many more years.