By Sunit Warraich, Managing Director, RummyBaazi
November 24, 2019: As one of the world’s largest smartphone markets, India is seeing tremendous growth in mobile and app-related technologies. Online gaming, as a sub-sector of the industry, has also received a significant boost.
According to KPMG, India’s gaming industry is already growing at a pace of 22% CAGR. When you factor in the country’s young population and the remaining scope for mobile penetration, it’s safe to say that the category’s exponential growth has only just begun.
While single-player games such as Candy Crush, Temple Run etc. dominated in the initial days of the sector, the upsurge in multiplayer competitive gaming suggests that social gaming will play a much bigger role as the category expands.
The trend towards social gaming is best represented by the growth of fantasy sports or e-sports. The competitive angle along with the combination of skill and risk-reward has helped this blossom into an attractive market with millions of players participating each day.
Along with the growth of fantasy gaming, new innovative multiplayer games that mix leisure with thrill such as rummy and poker have also seen explosive growth in recent years.
Of course, the growing expenditure by customers on online gaming through micro-transactions have made it a very lucrative field to be in for companies and businesses. Competition in the sector has ballooned in recent years in an attempt to monetise and profit on the boom in social gaming. Even console giants such as Sony PS and Microsoft XBox have hit the upgrade button on traditional gaming and have begun updating their software to connect their games to online servers, enabling multiplayer gaming for a richer overall experience.
With so much happening in such a short time in the sector, it begs the question: What’s in store for the future of online gaming in India?
It’s still too early to tell what the eventual competitive landscape will look like, but one thing is for certain: quality and value will win the race.
The millennial consumer has grown accustomed to using cost-effective and reliable mobiles, laptops and tablets in their everyday life. This has had a spillover effect on online gaming, where customers demand safety, efficiency, affordability and reliability, all the while enjoying a high-grade playing experience.
While free-to-play may enjoy high downloads and visibility to begin with, the lack of investment and incentive in continuously upgrading the platform will eventually lead users to try new things. When it comes to paid games, the user experience may be optimal, but onboarding new users can be difficult in an environment where games are so accessible.
This suggests that ‘Freemium’ models - games which lets users play for free but add monetized incentives in game - are most likely to succeed. This is because the free-to-play nature will likely grab user attention while the profits generated will help in improving and continuously streamlining the gaming experience.
Businesses in the sector are currently jostling for space using these three models. Additionally, innovations in marketing in the form of offers, bonuses and incentives etc. are being deployed to catch the eye of audiences.
Which brands will grow to become the most successful in the space? Only time will tell.