It has been an upward journey for the online gaming industry and rise in mobile gaming and affordable Internet connections continue to play a massive role, in this rise.
2020 saw a booming rise for the online gaming industry. And since then, it has been an upward only journey for the fledgling (comparatively) industry sector. The sector saw a 108 per cent increase in investment, to $443.3 million in CY21 (January, 21 to December, 21), alone. This figure was $212.9 million during the same period in CY20, states a report by Tracxn Technologies, as has been reported by the Financial Express.
The online gaming industry seems to be at its prime. And it is clearly steering for greater heights, as suggested by the numbers. The industry sector, according to an insight report by KPMG India, has been valued at ₹13,600 crore, in the FY21. And this figure has been predicted to more than double itself in the upcoming four years. It is expected that by FY25, it will reach a total market size of ₹29,000 crore.
Saumya Singh Rathore, the co-founder of WinZO said to BrandWagon Online, “The gaming industry is constantly revolutionising content, monetisation and business viability. With game tech companies at the forefront of generating wholesome immersive experiences, there is now a deeper and meaningful integration with emerging technologies. This further is coupled with culturally relevant and engaging content, which is central to creating a global benchmark emerging from India which cuts across genres and geographies across the world”.
The main drivers that were elemental behind driving this booming growth and continued rise of the online gaming industry is the easy accessibility to affordable high speed wireless Internet connectivity and the rise of the penetration of the smartphones. This especially picked up speed in 2020 and 2021, following the Covid-19 pandemic that had restricted the population to their homes for the better part of two years now.
According to the cofounders of Loco, Anirudh Pandita and Ashwin Suresh, this new investment will be fuelling innovation efforts for the platform along with gaming content and game streaming technology, as well. In this regard, they add, “We have always aimed to empower novice gamers to become household names and the funding catapulted our mission to do so. Game streaming saw the entry of hundreds of thousands of new streamers and millions of viewers, and this trend should accelerate in 2022, with individual streams rivaling those of major traditional sports”.
If 2020,was the year of marketing the brands and cashing in on the growth of the online gaming industry in the country, 2021 was all about getting mire users on board, all the while looking for and implementing ways and methods that enhance the users’ experiences.
The Online Gaming Industry Continues Gaining Traction in India
NODWIN Gaming CEO, Sidharth Kedia, states, “While we continue to invest in our intellectual properties (IPs) and make them bigger and better, this year most of our funding was diverted towards acquisitions. In September, we acquired the gaming and live IP business of OML, in addition to buying a 10% stake in Rusk Media in December. Some of our funds have also been invested in improving the infrastructure that supports both organic and inorganic growth”.
Some of the biggest investors in the online gaming industry sector in India, according to Tracxn, were AngelList, Lumikai, Kalaari Capital, Matrix Partners India and Sequoia Capital. As for the companies, MPL got unicorn status, and raised a $150 million from a clutch of investors, that included Sequoia Capital, Times Internet and Pegasus Tech Ventures. NODWIN Gaming raised $22 million and Loco raised $9 million while WinZo raised $60 million in the Series C funding.
It is interesting to note here that 2021 has opened up a host of different avenues for esports, as it got included in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and the Asian Games 2022. While esports was not a medal event at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, it will be a medal event at the Asian Games 2022, thereby giving the sport a global recognition. This global recognition of the esports will provide for further traction, in the rise of the online gaming industry globally, as well as in India.
With the rise in the recognition of esports as a global sporting event, a large number of gaming enthusiasts in India, as well, are shifting over to PC. Commenting on this, Anirudh Pandita and Ashwin Suresh say, “We expect a small percentage of users to continue to go from smartphones to PCs, but by and large, India will continue to be a mobile-first gaming nation with a large PC playing population by absolute numbers and small in terms of percentage”.
Despite rising concern surrounding the online gaming industry and the threat of illegitimacy over a part of the sector, it seems that the sector looks promising to be poised for further growth in the country. And it is with this sentiment that we look forward to the upcoming year.