The Booming Gaming Industry of India

Date:   Tuesday , July 21, 2015

Founded in 2006, Octo Inc. is one of the fastest growing mobile gaming companies around. The company is based out of Delhi, India.

Till a few years back, the most popular forms of entertainment available to the youth in India were the traditional forms like movies, music, television and sports. Gaming as a culture was a concept, alien to India. The potential market for gaming has emerged over time and its growing popularity can be attributed to the new digital generation. In a country with burgeoning youth and middle class, more than 50 percent of the youngsters who fall in the age group of 18 to 35 constitute the target audience for gaming.

When gaming started in India, it was primarily an outsourcing hub for foreign gaming companies providing game development services. The console and PC-based games resulted in a very small percentage of the gaming population. Power issues, low smartphone base and Internet penetration were some of the reasons that further attributed to a small gaming market in India.

The industry which had just about 25 companies at the time when I started out has grown to more than 250 game developers today. I have been at the helm of affairs of Octro Inc since 2006, having built one of the most complex mobile communication backend, a technology we used to create real time multi player social games that can scale up to millions of concurrent players.

Frankly, what prompted me to step into the gaming industry was the fact that out of the 100 top grossing apps on Google Play store, 60 percent of the apps were games. This was an indicator of the revenue generating ability of the apps.

Although, mobile gaming in India is still in the nascent stage, it is predicted that this industry will generate great opportunities for game developers over the next two years. According to a KPMG-FICCI report, it is predicted that from the current Rs.560 crore, the mobile gaming segment size will jump more than triple to Rs.1,800 crore by 2017. Further, with 110 million mobile internet user base, cheap 3G plans and affordable smartphones, and highly untouched T2 & T3 markets, Indian gaming industry will grow into one of the best markets in the world.

The industry today is pegged at about $890 million in size as per NASSCOM, with at least two companies coming up every month and growing at around 30 percent every year. While Octro was the category creators for gaming in India, it has led to several companies entering gaming leading to institutional funds being directed to them to enable growth. This spurt in growth can be attributed to the smartphone penetration, onset of 3G, free to download and play games and democratization of game publishing.

Today one can establish as a gaming developer registered with Apple or Google. The market is mainly mobile-driven as many people still don\'t have an access to online and console games, whereas, mobile is easily accessible to all. This has increased the consumer base and data usage very rapidly, giving the market the much needed push. This has led to a mushrooming of gaming start-ups in India.

Gaming has created some successful customer engagement strategies which are dependent on your ability to build two way communications with your customers and earn their trust and loyalty. Console and PC games had a disadvantage as they did not facilitate quick feedback from users unlike in smartphones where developers can get user ratings and comments on the games in a shorter span of time. This has led to increased site returns, new visitors and registrations.

Besides the advantages that have accrued to the game, user experience has improved dramatically as well. The users today have an edge as they can play games on a decent Android-powered smartphone that could cost as low as Rs.5,000. This has been proven by Octro\'s user base as well, which is Android led by more than 90 percent. So, the dependency on hardware and power is a thing of the past and this has made playing games much easier which was not possible earlier when PC\'s and consoles were the only option. It also gives the user the advantage to save the game and exit and get back on board as per his convenience.

Gaming industry offers enormous scope for development and is attracting a lot of global players. India being a cash savvy society, people are still not very comfortable with the idea to pay for mobile games. Even downloading large file-sized games despite cheap gaming rates and mobile internet plans has been a hindrance in the industry\'s growth. Monetization is still an issue for both the local and global mobile game developers entering the Indian market. But, despite this the gaming service industries have grown exponentially with more distribution oriented models.

Mobile games are extremely popular with the youngsters as an entertainment medium today. The growing popularity of Android as a leading player in India has provided the developers with a trusted platform to experiment with their ideas, and ensuring some positive outcome in the coming future. Mobile phones are likely to become the preferred platform for gaming, in the coming years, with the increase in use of portable devices and improved connectivity.