While entering into a new decade, we are finally witnessing a state of maturity that we can see in the Indian gaming industry, especially in online games. 2019 was the year when online gaming went mainstream, correspondingly we expect 2020 to be the year for online gaming to register phenomenal growth. The online gaming sector has already gained a strong foothold in the entertainment industry. People, no longer, play games merely for entertainment; for many of them, it’s a full-time profession.
We are about to see an evolution of a proper gaming ecosystem in India in 2020. It would consist of gamers across all ages, game developers and designers, investors, and marketers working together to come up with revolutionary cutting edge games. Largely driven by online and mobile gaming, the Indian online gaming sector is growing at a CAGR of 22 per cent, and is most likely to touch USD 1 billion in revenue by the end of 2020.
The decade will observe the creation of more gaming unicorns. New, immersive gaming experiences will be built. Gaming technologies will become more economical and accessible. More localized games will be launched, and fantasy sports will go beyond cricket. In 2019, fantasy sports beyond the Big-league cricket (IPL, ICC World Cup, the Ashes) drove the initial growth of India’s fantasy gaming platforms. According to industry estimates, almost, 85 to 90 percent of fantasy gaming in India has to do with cricket. This is leading fantasy gaming platforms to include more non-cricket sports.
Here, we are showcasing the top 5 online gaming trends to check out for in India in the year 2020:
Cloud-based gaming services
There has been a great demand for cloud-based gaming services from gamers all around for quite some time. Something equivalent to Netflix or Amazon Prime, where you have thousands of games from different publishers. Tech giants Apple and Google realized the massive potential for a cloud-based gaming service and have started Arcade and Stadia respectively towards the end of 2019. In 2020, we can expect both of these gaming services to shift gears and move up to the next level. Their services are available across multiple platforms — Mobiles, Desktops, Laptops, iPad, and Macs. Moreover, with Reliance Jio leading the charge with Jio fiber and attempts to do cloud gaming, there is a great possibility for some startups to experiment with unique ideas for cloud gaming although the market is still small in 2020. Without large scale adoption of fiber network by the users and an aggressive push towards gaming, growth will be difficult in this industry in 2020.
Real Money Gaming Market
Fantasy gaming market which is commanded by Dream11 will see some maturity in growth as the company strategically transforms itself into a sports company rather than just a gaming company. It will attract more investors as the company has displayed great growth and margins. The rummy market will also see growth, despite certain state-level legal challenges, although, parent companies have also started diversifying into other genres. As for newer business models like MPL, Winzo that disrupted the Real Money Gaming market, there will be some consolidations with leaders effectively becoming larger platforms for an alternative way for game developers to earn money in India. The sector which enjoys great margins and high ARPU will also see some new genre of games and startups disrupting the status quo. Legally, this entire sector might see some turbulence but it shouldn’t have any impact on the growth this year.
Socializing via online gaming is becoming a new trend and evolving attribute of online games. The gamer gets the opportunity to not only earn a paycheck for himself while gaming but also indulge in joyful competition with family, friends and strangers no matter where they are in the world. If looked at from a psychological perspective, the gamer is no longer the loner but can involve him into socializing with the people sharing similar passions. In 2019, games such as Ludo King, Habbo, PUBG, etc. gained huge prominence in India because they helped gamers build a community for themselves.
Desi customization of games
Viewers and gamers around the globe including India has begun to prefer the localize online gaming content in recent years. It is not hard to see why — being in familiar surroundings with language and cultural references you understand can make for a substantially more enjoyable experience. 2020 could well see more game studios and online sites pitch specific Indian content to the Indian market. Trends in this niche could prompt more online games to be produced just for the Indian market, based on popular movies or TV shows here. Indian game developers are also building titles in multiple local languages and themes (big movie franchises like Baahubali, festivals, seasons, etc.). This “content customization” is expected to drive the domestic gaming industry to stay ahead.
AR/VR could be a big turnaround
Augmented reality and Virtual reality is the sought after things going in the gaming industry now. However, the expensive VR/AR headsets meant that only the elite had access to the games. Industry experts predict that VR/AR games will receive a considerable thrust this year, and the prices of the headsets would become more affordable. Many existing games would likely incorporate VR and IR to give a more immersive gaming experience.
It is quite evident that the Indian online gaming industry is sure to touch the sky with more amount of foreign investments coming up. Coupled with smartphone revolution, falling data prices, and the arrival of 5G technology, more and more people would venture into gaming community and games with improved graphics would hit the market soon.