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The recent ban on the immensely popular PUBG has shone the spotlight on India’s online gaming market and its rapid penetration and growth.

Why mobile gaming in India is skyrocketing as an industry
Atom Gaming Friday, September 18, 2020 - 12:11

The global gaming industry has been booming for a while. To give a sense of the scale, it is estimated to make close to $159.3 billion in revenues this year, and revenues are estimated to cross $200 billion by 2023.

In India, the scope is no less astounding. The recent ban on the immensely popular PUBG has shone the spotlight on India’s online gaming market and its rapid penetration and growth. Over the past years, apart from PUBG, mobile games ranging from online card games like Rummy to online fantasy sporting games have gained immense popularity.

In fact, a report by KPMG and Google estimates that India will have 310 million active gamers by 2021 in a market that will be worth $1 billion. Among these online mobile games that are raking in the cash, card games such as rummy and poker have also become extremely popular.

Why?

Two differentiated groups of gamers

The rise of the casual gamer as a separate entity from the serious gamer has led to an influx of different demographics to mobile gaming in India.

Casual gamers, who enjoy games like Candy Crush, do it to pass time and can become extremely preoccupied with playing the game through the day. They like free-to-play games and do not make in-app purchases. But they spend hours and hours every day on the app. In India, women make up a huge faction of the hyper-casual gamer segment.

Skill gamers, who play to win, are the ones who are willing to spend for quality games and are happy to make in-app purchases if it furthers their progress.

Ludo, Rummy, and quiz games see both types of gamers. Such games have both free and paid services, are simple and easy to use, and allow for winnings to be in real cash prizes that can rack up to even Rs. 50 lakhs.

Isolation breeds the need for entertainment

Another reason for the growth in mobile gaming is the fact that we’re in a global pandemic, spending the majority of our time indoors without the usual activities that keep us entertained or occupied. Games like Candy Crush, Ludo and Rummy are ways to pass time and bust stress.

The Junglee Rummy app - a 13-card format game played by two to six players for real cash - has reflected this rise in popularity. Ankush Gera, founder of Junglee Games, said in a recent interview that their flagship app has seen its player count and revenue double every year from 2013. The game has over 20 million users today, and ever since the lockdowns began the app has seen a massive surge in new registrations.

As for other forms of gaming, while console gaming has seen a slowing in growth rate, the PS 5 and Xbox Series X will hit the market soon and surely drive up interest. PC gaming, thanks to the shift to digital distribution systems, is steadily growing.

It remains to be seen how changed lifestyles due to lockdown will influence gaming trends, but it’s obvious even now that big things are in store for mobile gaming, both in India and the world over.

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