Angel investors and venture capital firms are always on the search for the next big players in markets and mobile gaming is no exception. As the proliferation of smartphones and tablets continues at pace across India, this explains the focus on the subcontinent as the next likely nation to undergo a mobile gaming revolution. It’s safe to say that India has long been at the heart of the 21st century entrepreneurial age, underlined by innovation and investment in cutting-edge technology and mobile gaming is no exception.
The majority of Indian mobile gamers were brought up on a diet of strategy games like Temple Run, Candy Crush and Clash of Clans. However, there has been a huge shift with many other niches tapping into a growth market that’s expected to reach 628 million consumers by the end of 2020. Aside from casual gaming, traditional games like poker have also fostered mobile audiences with native apps fully optimized for Android and iOS devices, ramping up the engagement of games new and old.
Half of India will be mobile gaming
Industry analysts believe India’s mobile gaming market is currently experiencing exponential growth of up to 25% year-on-year. It’s also expected that over 628 million Indians will be playing mobile games on smartphones and tablets by the end of 2020, equating to almost half of the country’s entire population. While the mobile gaming sector has captured the imagination of millennials for several years now, it’s the ability to enchant the older generation in the 40-60-years-old bracket that is pushing the industry firmly into the nation’s mainstream psyche.
Last year’s India Game Developer Conference (IGDC) proved to be hugely lucrative for the Indian mobile gaming sector. The event staged in November, saw 60 innovative gaming start-ups and around 50 investors venture to the IGDC to marry up development and investment opportunities. The IGDC confirmed in a post-event statement it experienced a 100% rise in the number of investors and start-ups present, with the event generating more than $10m worth of investment.
India’s gaming journey from niche to mainstream
Gaming of all guises has long been viewed as something of a niche entertainment form in India. Looking back to the dotcom era, gaming was reserved entirely for a small minority that was lucky enough to get their hands on video games consoles and desktop PC components at extortionate prices. However, mobile gaming has certainly turned this on its head, helping India become the fifth-biggest gaming market on the planet and with plenty of scopes to move up those rankings further.
The rising popularity of cost-effective smartphones and low-budget data plans have also made it possible for mobile gaming to penetrate in India and realise its untapped potential. Mobile gaming has the potential to be extremely social and it’s this interaction and immersion that so many Indian mobile gamers enjoy. By their very nature, gamers are extremely competitive and games like Clash of Clans allow players to measure themselves against their friends or the best players in the game, monitoring their progress and enjoying their rewards from levelling up, be it improved levels, features or items.
Another factor in the growth of mobile gaming in India is the increased interest in popular streaming platforms such as Twitch, Mixer and Discord. These dedicated communities allow gamers to follow and learn from more experienced gaming personalities. YouTube Gaming is also a particularly popular platform for Indian gamers, with high-profile titles such as PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang faring well on the subcontinent.
It’s therefore easy to see why investors and venture capitalists are funnelling their finance into India for mobile gaming. When you look at Kantar’s IMRB report and find that the daily average time spent playing mobile games among India’s active user base is over an hour, that’s a lot of minutes to for app developers to try and monetise.