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“With The Rise in Online Gamer Base and Affordable Gaming Tech, the Future of Indian Game Developers Look Bright”

Indian gaming market is now one of the fastest growing market across the globe and it has become the center focused market for all leading gaming brands from all over the world. The gaming brands of India are contributing to the growth of this market by bringing strategic plans, products and organizing gaming carnivals/festivals. The gaming contests help professional gamers to come together to win gaming battles and encash their gaming skills. The rapid development happening across different segment of this market i.e. Gaming PCs/Laptops, Gaming Accessories, Popular Games, Gaming Contests. The integration of AI into gaming is helping this market to flourish more actively. To further talk over the future of this market, DT interacted with Yogesh Mudras, MD, UBM India, one of the world’s leading organiser of dynamic B2B events.

DT: How do you see the overall growth of Gaming Market in India?

Mr. Yogesh: Rapid development in the consumption-based gaming industry has ranked India in the top 5 countries for mobile gaming, worldwide. Millennials are increasingly getting hooked to social media platforms; the gates to the gaming realm and with a massive population of 1.3 billion people in India, about 320 million will be gamers by 2021. The youth of India is actively contributing to the growth of the gaming industry by opting to join the industry as full time game developers and streamers.

The latest report by KPMG India states that India is prompted to reach Rs. 11,880 crore in market value by 2023, mainly from increased foreign investment, rising disposable income, ease of accessibility through smart phones and precisely, the development of VR and AI tools into gaming. Although, today, the gaming industry may have completed a full circle, with PC games taking the centre stage and becoming a favorite among gaming enthusiasts, the future and growth definitely still lies within the mobile gaming industry.

DT: How does smartphone penetration help gamer’s community to increase their reach?  

Mr. Yogesh: Clearly the proliferation of smart phones and cheaper data plans has triggered a surge in mobile gaming in the country. It offers gamers easy access to online games, at any given time, broadening the scope of the community from a desktop or wall-bracket TV, to an on-the-go platform. Factors such as free games, friendly user interfaces and unending gaming features have boosted the sector in terms of reach to non-gamers. Besides, smart phone gaming has given way to game developers to introduce innovative gaming experiences and storylines which can cater to different target audiences at a cheaper cost, with updates made easily available. Some of the trending games in India right now are PUBG,  Clash Royale, HQ Trivia, 8 Ball Pool, and of course, Candy Crush, amongst others, which has given way to real-time experience, leading to massive user-retention.

However, there’s a misconception revolving around mobile games lacking the ability to showcase in-depth stories, character development, massive online 3D worlds and integration of virtual reality, whereas in actuality, it is quite the opposite. Smart phones aid as a testing platform for players, as many begin gaming on it, to eventually shift to platforms like PC and console to further enhance their skills and explore richer content. More than 222 million active gamers have been spending an average of 42 minutes playing mobile games every day over five sessions in the country as of 2017, which goes to show the influence smart phones have over the industry.

DT: What are the major growth factors for this industry to grow further by end of 2019?

Mr. Yogesh: The gaming industry has seen growth from casual to serious gamers. A rising demand for evolved gaming consoles such as PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch etc., is being witnessed in urban areas of India. Government initiatives like Digital India and Make in India have created a lucrative pull towards the gaming industry, encouraging gamers to play games based on famous events like Kaun Banega Crorepati, T20fever.com, IPL and Khel Kabaddi, amongst others.

Moreover, the advancement of technologies, the focus of gaming companies is towards AR, VR and AI related games in the country and is expected to boost India’s gaming market in the coming year.

The gaming startups are spaces for rapid growth. With money moving into the Indian gaming industry, investors are definitely expecting exceptional results and return on investment, as India is world’s second largest internet population with skills base across IT, Testing and Arts.  Game development outsourcing is a promising trend in India, as there is abundant talent in the programming and art sectors. Although, there are some challenges involved, this is the ideal time to invest in the industry, given that just two years back, India placed 2nd position in the mobile game session’s category, securing a 13 per cent share.

DT: How do you work with all stakeholders to promote this industry?

Mr. Yogesh: The Indian gaming industry is at a turning point. With the rise in online gamer base, affordable gaming tech and adoption of new payment technologies, the future of Indian game developers look bright (GDDC brochure). UBM India’s Game Development and Design Conference 2019 is an initiative aimed at stakeholders to converse and discuss the way forward for the gaming industry in India. The recently held conference was a platform for all the stakeholders in the gaming fraternity to come together and address all aspects of gaming, ranging from current trends, a slow shift from mobile games to augmented engagement level of online games, digital distribution platforms, game design and development for the Indian market, emerging technologies to smart monetisation.

The stakeholders are the real players of the gaming industry; they are the ones who understand the risk of gaming, law enforcement, best practices in cybersecurity and player protection. Gaming is just not for mere entertainment. More than 150 delegates came under a single rostrum to educate the players who can become victims of any new form of crime in the gaming industry through keynote presentations, brainstorming panel discussions and case studies.

As a global community builder, we believe it is our responsibility to gather game designers, programmers, artists, producers and business professionals in the gaming community to enhance their knowledge, address challenges and gain insights on future trends of the industry.

DT: What will be your upcoming plans to boost this sector?

Mr. Yogesh: UBM India is an aggregator platform and we will always bring together everyone under one roof to provide opportunities for developers, hardware, software and middleware service providers, visualization technologies, content production services, online streaming service providers corporations, and the end user. Our aim is to continuously support gaming industry and host the Game Development and Design Conference in future to enhance creative workforce. The gaming industry has the potential to emerge as a significant sector for creating jobs. What goes behind this shift are multiple forces that converge to make gaming a huge industry. It is important to be backed by infrastructure which includes affordable internet, smartphone, an advanced digital payment method, and rising disposable incomes.

DT: What according to you is the biggest challenge for this market, especially brands who sell hardware or software solutions to gamer?

Mr. Yogesh: To compete in the field itself is a challenge, as technology is ever changing.  The evolution of technology has caused the death of handheld gaming devices. These days, we have mobile gaming with consoles still thriving and each new invention of the console makes us believe in new invention and capabilities. The hardware platforms, on which the game runs, be it an arcade, a PC or a gaming console has witnessed a flat trajectory in the console market. The original systems weren’t designed to support the latest technology which means a lot of porting and backward compatibility and both hardware and software has to go hand-in-hand for this. The problem lies more in the market than the products, as the users aren’t growing and competition remains a concern.

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