Indian gamer base is expected to rise to 893 million by 2028: Report

As per the report, India is transitioning from a net importer of global gaming titles to a global exporter of content and IP.

By  Indrani BoseApr 18, 2024 9:26 AM
Indian gamer base is expected to rise to 893 million by 2028: Report
Battle royale games managed to monetize a significant part of their userbase through inapp purchases of skins, battle passes, etc. and boosted eSports popularity through tournaments and live streaming.(Representative Image: Onur Binay via Unsplash)

The Indian gamer base is expected to rise to 893 million by 2028 on the back of robust growth drivers. Despite the GST-driven slowdown, the growth fundamentals will also lead to a growing base of paid users as a share of total user base, stated the India Gaming Report 2024 by Interactive Entertainment and Innovation Council and Winzo.

The growth of hardcore gaming subsegment is projected to outpace all the other subsegments of Indian mobile gaming industry. Hardcore games provide high engagement to gamers on account of extensive simulation, intense and complex gameplay, and mechanics and storyline.53 Monetization per user is expected to moderate on account of the recent hike in local tax (GST). The growth will be driven by behavioural changes and increase in ad spends due to greater engagement.

Around 20 percent of gamers in India are paying users, with Pay to Play, Casual and Core games.

In-app purchases are projected to grow at the highest rate at ~35% CAGR; with the rise of paying users across casual and core genres. Around 20% of gamers in India are paying users, with Pay to Play, Casual and Core games the most popular $0.18 Bn $0.22 Bn $0.01 Bn $0.02 Bn $0.42 Bn Others FY23 FY28E Source: IEIC Analysis amongst paying user base.

While the industry fundamentals will lead to growing user base over the years, such growth will not translate into equivalent user monetization on account of recent tax policies. The share of Non-RMG segment will increase to ~21% of the online gaming market by 2028E.

Battle royale gaming driving the massification of hardcore mobile gaming

Battle royale games have been instrumental in demonstrating that mobile gaming has the capability to catch the attention of the nation. Multiplayer games are seeing increased time spent and monetization because consumers like to compete and spend time socially with their friends. Battle royale games is a popular format wherein multiple players participate in a combat zone to eliminate each other and the last player to survive wins the game.

Increased focus on culturally familiar and vernacular content, along with visual and voice features are helping onboard new gamers and driving higher engagement. Battle royale games managed to monetize a significant part of their userbase through inapp purchases of skins, battle passes, etc. and boosted eSports popularity through tournaments and live streaming.

Early hardcore Gaming: Before 2015, hardcore mobile gaming was a niche affair. Low smartphone penetration coupled with fewer available titles, kept hardcore gaming out of the masses’ reach. Even the more complex games were simple 2D side-shooters.

Massification of hardcore gaming: Price-relative performance of budget phones increased significantly, and complex games became common. Mobile ports of popular PC/ console titles were launched and a few were massive hits.

Future of hardcore gaming: As hardware and network become increasingly accessible, future technologies are being integrated into traditional gaming experience. VR toggle mode, cloud gaming, and auto generated worlds are under development.

Other key trends

Multiplayer games are seeing increased time spent and monetization because consumers like to compete and spend time socially with their friends. Battle royale games is a popular format wherein multiple players participate in a combat zone to eliminate each other and the last player to survive wins the game. Increased focus on culturally familiar and vernacular content, along with visual and voice features are helping onboard new gamers and driving higher engagement.

Battle royale games managed to monetize a significant part of their userbase through inapp purchases of skins, battle passes, etc. and boosted eSports popularity through tournaments and live streaming. India is emerging as a talent hub, both for itself and the world. Larger talent pool is available with the number of gaming companies having gone up by 10x over the last decade.

Early investments by international studios is translating to talent proliferation now. Influencer-driven user generated content and live streaming is nascent but the growing (~$100Mn) eSports industry is driving gaming adoption and higher engagement. Live Streaming is changing the gaming landscape - from consumption to distribution and beyond. Investors continue to actively scout and shape gaming space; The peak of early-stage activity in terms of investments is behind us.

India is transitioning from a net importer of global gaming titles to a global exporter of content and IP. Battle royale gaming driving the massification of hardcore mobile gaming.

First Published on Apr 18, 2024 9:26 AM

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