Game is on for the Indian Gaming ecosystem!

Saumya is a Psychology post-graduate from The University of Manchester. She also hold a degree in Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society

The Online gaming industry has drastically evolved. From solo player format to having a multiplayer experience, playing with your friends, chatting or live streaming to millions of people. Online gaming has helped millions to connect. The phenomenal growth seen during the last few weeks, amid the lockdown can be attributed to man being a social animal and its need for staying connected.

The launch of cheap 4G services and availability of affordable smartphones with the launch of Reliance Jio in late 2016, expedited the growth of online gaming in India. This brought 300M+ Indians on smartphones for the first time with the Internet handy and affordable, making gaming available for Tier II-V regions which were earlier more affordable for the metros and big cities.

Reports suggest that 80 per cent of active gamers in India reside in non-metro locations. As much as 40-60 per cent of India's overall gamer population belongs to Tier II towns and beyond.

Online gaming in India is projected to grow faster than the global online gaming segment and expected to reach Rs 187 billion by 2022 at a CAGR of 43 per cent, according to a FICCI-EY report. 41 per cent of the consumers are preferring racing games, 47 per cent casual games, 61per cent strategy games and 44 per cent prefer puzzles. About 46 per cent have played multiplayer games and 35 per cent have played fantasy sports.

Reports suggest that 80 per cent of active gamers in India reside in non-metro locations

Currently, there are about 365 million online gamers as compared to 2010 when there were 25 million gamers only. In 2019, 5.6 billion mobile game applications were downloaded in India which was recorded the highest worldwide.

Initial weeks of lockdown, the industry registered 30-40 per cent jump in traffic online. Age old board games like Ludo & Carrom came back in their digital avatars and making waves as people resort to online gaming to connect with their friends and families and relive childhood memories amidst the lockdown.

The industry's growth has also led to another ecosystem of online gamers over platforms like YouTube and Facebook Gaming which helps them earn quick bucks. Techies are pursuing their hobby of developing games into a full-time profession. Game Development is coming up as an alternate career option given its complete digital nature as it is easier to move bytes than boxes in this complete disruption due to COVID 19.

However, the surge being observed currently is exceptional. COVID has helped the gaming industry evolve at a faster pace. People are spending more time during the day playing online games and spending the evenings with the family. Post complete lifting of lockdown, the online gaming platform might not see a similar growth rate as the number of hours for entertainment and gaming is expected to reduce drastically