Easy, affordable, and varied: How no-frills mobile gaming industry thrives in India

The number of mobile gamers in the country will reach 368 million by 2022 from 269 million in 2019.


There has been a huge growth in the gaming industry in recent times, and part of the reason is the fact that people have been forced to stay indoors given the coronavirus situation, and find ways to keep themselves occupied.

At the start of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Tencent, a Chinese tech giant went as far as to state publicly that they expected their investments in the gaming industry to tide them through the crisis. This statement was made during the early stages before most countries were affected and the economic impacts were yet to be felt.

Tencent have made major investments in several big players in the gaming industry. They own Riot Games (League of Legends), and have sizeable shares in Epic Games (Fortnite), Supercell (Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, and Brawl Stars). They also have a minority stake in Ubisoft (Assassin’s Creed) and Activision (Call of Duty).

In India, this industry is dominated by the mobile gaming segment. According to Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), the revenue from this segment of the gaming industry in India will be worth $943 million by 2022. This is a growth of more than 200 percent over a period of six years from $466 million in 2016. This growth is supported by a similar increase in the number of mobile gamers. The number of mobile gamers in the country will reach 368 million by 2022 from 269 million in 2019.

Call od Duty

Call of Duty

MMA goes on to further claim that three out of four gamers in India play mobile games at least twice a day while 31 percent of gamers are playing between four to five times each day. The average playing time for mobile games is over 60 minutes a day. These mobile gamers are not all-male or even young for that matter; 45 percent of mobile gamers are women and 58 percent of moms are into gaming.

This brings up the point of why mobile gaming is so popular. The best way to answer this question is to look at some of the reasons why people may not want to play video games. These reasons include the need for a console or a high-performance computer/laptop for playing games and the need to pay for the game, which can cost upwards of Rs 3,000.

Mobile gaming addresses many of these problems. There is no need to buy an expensive flagship smartphone as most games work perfectly well on a budget smartphone. There is also the fact that all smartphones today are either Android-based or iPhones. This makes it extremely easy for developers to make a game that has high penetration across most devices, while console games are not always available for PC gamers or vice-versa.

Mobile games are made for people with varying interests. Games of every genre exist, and unlike gaming on other platforms, most popular games are free to play. A majority of companies prefer to focus on earning their revenue through in-game micro-transactions that can be used to speed up progress. Many people who would normally never consider spending on a game often indulge in these micro-transactions as most of these games have a social media connect which lets players compete with their friends. Often blinded by their competitiveness, players end up splurging on the games in a bid to progress faster than their friends.

Mobile games are often addictive in nature and players keep wanting to come back to the game, repeatedly. Over time, enticed by features such as daily check-in rewards, this becomes a daily habit. Almost 30 percent of gamers play mobile games as a part of their routine.

Many games can also be played offline, especially the games which are puzzle-based such as Sudoku. These games can be played for a mere few minutes at a time when a person is waiting for someone or something to occur. This is not an option with many traditional video games as even today most gaming laptops are bulky. Even when a lighter laptop is used, it remains bulky compared to a mobile phone.

With these major advantages, it really is no surprise that the mobile gaming industry is fast taking over the gaming ecosystem in India.


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