Gather your friends, inform your family, pick up your bats, & bunk classes to sneak in a game. No! The drill has changed: Charge your phone, lay back on the couch; Get. Set. Game! The tremors of this change were felt towards the beginning of the 21st century when the internet was just a wire away - from your telephone set to the desktop, when the games were flash software integrated with websites or circulated from home to home on a DVD.
Towards the end of the decade, smartphone penetration had begun taking roots & flash games became a thing of the past. With the advent of smartphones, what we had at our hands was sheer magic: a virtual manifestation of the physical world indeed!
Talking Tom would do most of the talking in your house, Angry Birds became a punching bag for venting after a long, tiring day; Conquest had become synonymous to a jump from here to there - thanks to Temple Run! & books went from becoming a knowledge powerhouse at the library to being one in your pockets. The youth migrated from the turfs onto the couches.
Ludo is the real king
Fast forward to 2020, as the Coronavirus pandemic has robbed us of our spatial freedom, Ludo King downloads have seen an increase of 500% (As reported by Gametion.com). It has crossed more than 330 million downloads, & has 50 million daily active users.
The popularity of Ludo King has even bought non-gamers into the fold as Ludo is a trip down memory lane for most millennials across the country. The best part is that with ‘play with family/friends’ option in this game, nostalgia is just a button away. Likewise, games like Rummy, Snakes & Ladders, Teen Patti, & Chess which almost every Indian has grown up with, is now at your fingertips.
It is thus safe to say that the deep-rooted love for traditional games has been a major factor in the expansion of the virtual gaming industry in India. It is also safe to infer that the motivation behind playing these games have changed from being bored, or something you did to entertain yourself, to getting the adrenaline rush from an immersive multiplayer experience with your loved ones. Companies like Ace2Three, Pokerbaazi, Zynga games and many others are already cashing on our country’s obsession with card games.
At E-games Asia online too, our aim will be to bring people closer to their childhood by making e-games ultra-accessible. We want even the older age groups to relate with the game environment, thus bridging the gap between the young & the old. With an easy to navigate interface, we intend for the Indian family gatherings to make a comeback, and re-create the childhood magic.
Fantasy gaming is the new old norm
India has several religions, but it seems none of them are quite as big as the religion of Cricket! These days though, the obsession has translated into a seamless online gaming experience & a money earning opportunity with Dream 11 – the fantasy gaming portal. It allows people to not only form their own teams, but also earn money by capitalizing on the performance of the players they’ve chosen while the players play real world matches.
Dream 11 entered the unicorn club in 2019 with a user base of 65 million & is the official fantasy gaming partner for Indian Premiere League(IPL). Some companies like 11Wickets, MyTeam11, Fantain and StarPick also house other fantasy games like Football, Basketball & even Baseball. We need only wait another year to see games like Kabaddi, Hockey, Volleyball, & even wrestling venture into the fantasy gaming world.
In the coming years, we at E-games Asia online, not only intend to launch all these games at our company but also aim to break them into the mainstream. In addition to that, we also intend to add new functionalities and focus more on sharpening the strategic gaming skill of users rather than providing them just monetary gains.
Roti, Kapda, Gaming!
Earlier in the day, immersive gaming could go only as far as Nintendo. Then came console gaming- the PlayStation & Xbox universe! In many cases, the possession of gaming consoles also became a status symbol. However, today, similar or even more advanced games are not only available for free but can also be accessed from a wide range of devices like smartphones, laptops & desktops.
One could also play these games by paying a small hourly fee at gaming parlours and Cyber cafes. Smartphone penetration in particular became a boon for the gaming industry. Almost everyone & anyone who has a smartphone these days can play these games for free. One peculiar example of it would be PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds popularly known as PubG, which had earlier released only for playing through consoles.
When the game was made available for smartphones, it literally got woven into & became a part of the lives of millions of Indian youth. Within just 2 months of its launch, India captured 50 % of the 32 million of its userbase worldwide (As reported by Essence global). What’s surprising is that this was the scenario even when the company had not spent much on marketing. In line with this trend, our vision at E-games Asia online will be to bring maximum users on board without having to spend no money or minimal money.
Having said that, we also want to bring maximum non-gamers into the fold & weave advanced gaming into the routine life of Indians. Our model would be user-centric, and not just another lucrative business model. In the next upcoming year, our target will be to bring as many as 1 million users on-board.
India’s technology adoption to drive the growth of the industry
So how did a so-called ‘developing country’ like India come to embrace a first worldly pursuit such as E-gaming? It is common knowledge that India has embraced technology at a faster rate than some developed countries.
Growing awareness & income levels, implementation of advanced gaming technologies, evolving lifestyle choices, and the need to distract oneself in general is causing the growth of the gaming industry in India. Moreover, youth constitutes 34% of the total Indian population, which makes it a highly feasible market for the gaming industry.
Heavy adoption of Digital Marketing has also compelled market players to use games as a platform to broadcast commercials, which is further catapulting the growth of the industry. Seamless payments, affordable internet plans, budget smartphones & availability of localized content are also driving the growth of the virtual gaming market.
India is graced by huge infrastructural facilities of top players like Nvidia, Zynga, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Sony, Disney, Playdom, and Digital Chocolate, which will give the industry further impetus. Owing to these factors, the gaming industry in India will have a market size of a whopping Rs. 119 billion by 2023(As reported by Insight success), making the gaming sector one of the major contributors to the country’s GDP. Consequently, the industry will also create many opportunities for developers, graphics designers, animators, manufacturers, & technology partners.
AR/VR is the future
The adoption of AR/VR (Augmented reality & virtual reality) has taken the world of technology by storm. Gaming is no different. Being a fertile market & an early adopter, India has responded very well to the upcoming trend and we’ll soon be welcoming Google Stadia & Apple Arcade into the virtual gaming scene in the country.
These services will eliminate the need to pay for each game separately and users will be able to access a plethora of games for a monthly/yearly subscription. A fully immersive experience will soon find its ground in the country as users will be able to feel the virtual atmosphere of the game in real time. Many semi-immersive experiences are already present in the country in the form of shooting games that use VR goggles to help the user find their way through a dark room or other terrains.
Such visual isolations and responsiveness facilitate a fully immersive experience. Furthermore, the option of live streaming on apps like Steam & Twitch while playing these games, and even uploading them online is inspiring non-gamers to give gaming a shot. We at E-games Asia online, intend to capitalize on this trend and already have a team in place to integrate AR/VR with our online games. We also plan on leveraging the efforts of our research team to collaborate with major players in the virtual gaming space in order to provide them with additional competencies, thus giving a boost to the industry’s growth in our country.
Industry to foster despite roadblocks
Even as the consumer base of virtual gaming in India is rising at a steady rate, the progress is restricted only to people who have a liking for sports in general, and hence the Indian market is lagging behind as compared to countries like Korea, China & Taiwan. Piracy continues to be a major issue in our country and will pose a threat to the expansion of the virtual gaming industry in India.
However, with initiatives like Intellectual Property law, Promotion and Regulations of Online Games 2015, Foreign Direct Investment, Information Technology Act 2008, it is expected that the industry will find its bloom despite all roadblocks. At E-games Asia online, which has its head office in the U.K. we have an entire team dedicated to the vision of nurturing the gaming culture in India.
Owing to my 5-year tryst with advertising, I’m involved proactively in coming up with initiatives that take the motivation for gaming beyond playing just from boredom, or for passing time. We also plan to promote gaming by opening up an OTT platform that will enable users to stream games played on our platform & further inspire users to take up gaming. The platform will also have indigenous content, which will give it a more local flavour thus expanding the user base.
About the author:
Mr. Sudatta Ramteke has been working in the real estate sector for 20 years. His company Orange & Cotton Buildcon Pvt Ltd. is amongst Central India’s most reputed infrastructure companies. With his newest baby, E-games Asia online, he has ventured into the e-gaming space & aims for it to become the largest e-gaming company in India. The company also has an e-commerce portal with 20 lakh vendors & 80 lakh products with a focus on promoting glocal products, which is in line with India’s vision for its economy.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.