Revenue of Indian Gaming Industry May Reach The Mark of $6 Billion (Almost Double Jump) by 2028

 

The Indian gaming market has been on the ascendancy in the last few years. A combination of factors have contributed to phenomenal growth in the industry. Rapid smartphone penetration and the availability of fast and affordable internet have been prominent growth drivers. It also helped that popular games like rummy which are available in India in digitized forms.

As the penchant of the Indian gamer continues to rise for popular fantasy games and rummy apps, the market size is predicted to double within a few years. Fresh studies done by industry experts have estimated that the gaming industry revenue is expected to rise from $3.1 billion in 2023 to $6 billion by 2028. This is good news not just for the gaming platforms but also for the thousands employed in this sector. It is also a testament to the surging growth of a vibrant gaming community in India.

India's Gaming Growth Vis-à-vis Global Growth

The growth of the gaming industry in India is largely due to an increase in the number of paying gamers. From 144 million in 2023, it is estimated that there will be 240 million paying gamers by 2028. Overall, there are around 568 million gamers in India.

The gaming ecosystem is seeing unprecedented growth as well. The gaming content creation ecosystem in India comprises 3 lakh creators and streamers, as per the findings of the India Gaming Report 2024. Besides, there are more than 500 studios and 1,400 companies engaged in gaming development.

When compared to the global gaming landscape, the striking difference in India is the popularity of mobile gaming. 90% of gaming in India is dominated by mobile gaming. This is in sharp contrast to other major gaming markets like China and the US. Here, mobile gaming contributes 62% and 37% of the total gaming market respectively.

India is also coming up with overwhelming numbers when it comes to aggregate downloads. Game downloads in India increased from 5.65 billion to 9.5 billion in four years till 2023. Indian gamers account for 16% of all game downloads in the world. The next two nations in this metric lag far behind, falling short of India even when combined. Brazil and the US account for 7.6% and 7.4% of global game downloads, respectively.

Key Growth Drivers

Given the lofty forecasts for the Indian games industry, it is worth considering what is fuelling this growth. As mentioned earlier, it is a combination of factors. For the industry, it is a fortunate series of events that have made the ecosystem highly conducive for growth.

The pandemic push – Once the COVID-19 lockdowns kicked in, the average time spent on gaming increased from 2.1 hours per week to 4.5 hours. The number of gamers increased from 278 million in 2018 to 390 million in 2021. The contribution of real money games like rummy and poker increased from 40% of the revenue in FY2019 to 52% in FY2021. 

Investor interest – The pandemic surge also attracted substantial investor interest in gaming platforms. The entry of venture capitalist firms meant that the platforms had more room to innovate and spend on research and marketing. The venture capital funding of $1.6 billion in the first nine months of 2021 was more than the total investment in the previous five years!

Connected community – More and more members are joining the gaming community, thanks to the improved connectivity across the country. The rollout of 5G and initiatives like BharatNet and National Broadband Mission have opened up digital connectivity to an untapped audience. Games like rummy have been popular among these people for decades. The connectivity gave them access to the digitalised form of their favorite games.

Armed and entertained – Affordable mobile data plans have made the internet accessible to crores of Indians. Rising smartphone penetration indicates that they have the tools to get entertained. With a 78% mobile phone penetration, India saw 34 million smartphones sold in the first quarter of this financial year alone.

Traditional preferences – The traditional popularity of physical games like cricket and card games like rummy have catapulted digital games into dizzying success. The popular rummy app which goes by the name RummyCulture signifies a successful convergence of tradition and technology.

A Win-Win Scenario?

A relentless rally to the top may benefit not only the gaming industry but also other stakeholders. To streamline the growth of the Indian games industry, the regulations around it would get clearer. This includes judicial clarity, implementation of self-regulatory bodies, a relook at the tax regime, etc.

A growing gaming industry is also expected to balance the gender gap in the long run. As women begin to close the gender gap and build on their 40% participation, the gaming community is likely to see many new members. Lastly, a financially vibrant industry would also lead to more businesses, more jobs and an additional push for the Indian economy.

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