KMPG Projects Huge Growth for iGaming
India was home to a booming online gaming market, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. But as lockdowns were implemented and India’s workforce restricted to their homes, there was a massive shift with people turning to different forms of entertainment. One of those forms turned out to be online gaming, and the demand for online games has not diminished when the lockdown got lifted.
KMPG Projects Huge Growth for iGaming
As a result, the country’s gaming industry grew by around 50 percent at the height of the global health crisis. Local gamers spent an average of 4.1 hours playing their favourite online games, up from 2.5 pre-pandemic.
According to a recent report from the KPMG, which looked into India’s online casual gaming ecosystem, the sub-segment is now worth more than INR 60 billion, accounting for 44 percent of the country’s overall gaming revenue. It is projected to grow into an INR 169 billion industry by FY25, enjoying a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29 percent.
The massive growth will likely be driven by continued patronage, developing market trends, enhanced brand awareness, and the emergence of new monetization models.
Online casual games have enjoyed increasing popularity in India because of their unique features and social elements. Their appeal has now spread across the entire country as there are now many more Indians getting drawn to playing online games to connect with family and friends. Apart from the online entertainment and social factor, some also play these games for real money.
Mobile Gaming on the Rise in India
The KPMG report also highlights a massive increase in casual mobile game downloads in India, with the country recording 7.3 billion downloads during the first three quarters of 2020. The figures put India among the countries with the highest casual gaming downloads, ranking second to China.
Among the most downloaded mobile games in India are Clash of Clans, Call of Duty, Clash Royale, Subway Surfers, Candy Crush Saga, Ludo King, Genshin Impact, and PUBG Mobile. Mobile games developed by prominent brands like Epic Games, Garena, Activision, and Blizzard are also popular among local gamers.
An increasing number of players are also getting hooked to real-money apps. Big Cash, an Indian platform offering real-money games to local players, saw its monthly user numbers increase to 90,000 in May 2021, up from 20,000 in February 2020, just before the pandemic.
While most of its users are from the 35+ segment, the app is also now attracting gamers in the 18-24 age bracket. According to Ankur Singh, the founder and CEO of Big Cash, the figures indicate continuing growth, not just a temporary boom. Singh said their user base increased from 5 million to 25 million from March 2020 – March 2021, and they project that number to grow to more than 50 million by the end of 2021.
5G High-Speed Mobile Network Coming to India
India’s digital infrastructure has continued to improve, contributing to the rise of online gaming in the country. With mobile devices now equipped with the latest technology, coupled with enhanced internet services, consumers can now do almost anything with their smartphones, including playing online games.
Indian mobile users, in particular, are set to enjoy 5G high-speed network technology by August, which will significantly improve their mobile gaming experience.
5G brings many benefits to mobile gamers as it provides better support for multiple streams, with low latency and high concurrency, allowing for uninterrupted play among a bigger number of users. Additionally, the high-speed network also works well with AR/VR technology, providing a more immersive experience to players.
The availability of the 5G network will also pave the way for cloud gaming, with more users expected to upgrade to 5G devices, according to Girish Menon, KPMG India’s Head of Media and Entertainment. Cloud gaming works best with high-processing speeds and low jitter levels, which 5G can effectively support.
AR and VR gaming also run in networks with low latency and high reliability and bandwidth, with graphics requiring heavy processing. Menon said 5G could split workloads between the AR/VR device and the cloud, resulting in an enhanced gaming experience.
With robust consumption, strong digital infrastructure, and more local and international companies investing in India, KPMG India’s Satya Easwaran said casual online gaming would become a “serious business” in the country, with the mobile segment set to grab the larger chunk of the local gaming market.
Lot Of Interest In India’s iGaming Market
Expect to see a lot more seed investment coming into India as companies and investors worldwide look to jump in and get a piece of this growing market. Foreign operators are also keen on setting up offices in India and establishing their presence in the coming months.