India’s online gaming sector is rapidly expanding. With a user base of over 628 million players, the country’s online gaming business was valued at $290 million in 2016 and is anticipated to reach $1billion by 2021.
There are important reasons why the industry is so popular in India. With over half of its people under the age of 25, India is a youthful country. Low-cost smartphones are readily available. Smartphone users are anticipated to rise by 84 percent to 859 million by 2022, up from 468 million in 2017. Another important aspect is the digital payment systems that are widely used. Users of digital payments are anticipated to increase from 100 million in 2019 to 300 million. This has bestowed the explosive rise of online gambling payments.
Gaming Market in India
India is one of the top five nations around the world for online gaming. In 2019, India had the greatest number of mobile gaming application downloads in the world at 5.6 billion. Online shooting games such as PUBG, Call of Duty, and Fortnite have lately grown in popularity among Indian smartphone gamers. Online gaming in India is predicted to develop faster than the worldwide online gaming sector, according to research by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and industry, an alliance of Indian business groups. PUBG mobile is played by over 150 million Indians on a daily basis. Games like Candy Crush Saga, Farmville, and criminal cases were widespread on Facebook a few years ago, with players spending hours upon hours playing them and asking their friends to join them in the gaming process. Those tendencies do not apply to the games such as craps online, blackjack, or slots in general, as they are considered to be under certain regulations since they can be played on online casino platforms.
Another prominent area in India is online Fantasy sports gaming. The game requires special skills that allow users to create their own teams and players. It is used for a variety of sports, including cricket, football, etc. The introduction of new leagues in different sports, such as the Indian Premier League, and the diversified viewership of sports in the nation have led to the enormous rise in fantasy sports gaming, with the users from 20 million four years ago, to 50 million or more in 2019.
The puzzle, adventure, and action genres have experienced the highest rise in Indian user engagement, according to research conducted by POKKT, a major mobile advertising agency in India and Southeast Asia.
Depending on the sort of game, the demographics differ. Males are more likely to play action and adventure games, while females are more likely to play puzzle and quiz games. Gamer’s preferences differ depending on their age as well. Despite the fact that ladies and males in India have distinct gaming preferences, it has been shown that they spend the same amount of time in the games. A gamer spends an average of 28 minutes each day gaming, with 76 percent of players playing twice every day. The majority of gamers’ ages are not exceeding the age of 24, owing to the fact that this age group has more free time and is more tech aware. The acceptance of gaming among older age groups, on the other hand, is growing. These are significant considerations for firms when creating and marketing games.
Indian gaming market and foreign investments
There are some important investments in the Indian gaming industry that are worth mentioning.
- Ubisoft, a French video game developer, operates two development centers in India.
- In 2019 Rockstar Games, an American video game publisher purchased Dhruva Interactive, a company that produces many different games, based in Bengaluru. It was eventually incorporated into Rockstar India studio, which now has an employee base of about five hundred people in India.
- In 2020, Baazi Games, a Kolkata-based online games company, intends to invest almost five million in India’s gaming sector. The focus of investment will be on gaming start-ups in order to foster the development of cutting-edge gaming technologies. On its web platforms, the internet site offers games with cards including Poker Baazi and Rummy Baazi, also a fantasy cricket Balle Baazi.
- PayTM, Noida-based payments and e-commerce company, and AGTech Holding, a Hong Kong-based company under the regulations of Alibaba Group, launched a joint project in 2018 to develop Gamepind, a special platform that offers popular casual and sports games.
- Youzu Interactive, a gaming business based in China, joined the Indian market in 2017 with the intention to invest $10 million in local gaming development and collaborations.
Gaming and Covid outbreak in India
More individuals have turned to online games to pass the time while confined to their homes due to a countrywide lockdown. During the epidemic, the number of downloads of mobile games increased dramatically around the globe.
Even the World Health Organization is advising people to stay at home and play video games during the COVID-19 epidemic. The gaming campaign has become popular on social media, with backing from the WHO and many gaming titans including Activision Blizzard, based in California.
Gaming firms and online gaming retailers are promoting discounts and bundle deals to attract customers to play video games online. Epic Games, a video game developer, and publisher based in the United States will give away one game every week throughout 2020. The game will remain with the user indefinitely once claimed. GOG, a digital distribution marketplace for video games based in Poland, was giving massive disco discounts.
Google has started displaying doodles of its own most popular video games. To encourage people and promote activities to connect people with each other in this tough time, Google is making Stadia, its online cloud gaming service, free for two months. This initiative will give Google a leg up on its competitors in the cloud gaming sector.
Regulations on online gaming
Under the Indian constitution, betting and gambling are considered state matters, which implies that each state has sole legislative authority to pass laws governing betting and gaming within its borders.
While most laws allow skill-based games, most Gaming Enhancements make it illegal to play games of chance. The term “gaming” is used when talking about gambling activities. Simply said, games of skill are legal, while games of chance must be reviewed and approved by the courts.
Certain Indian states have accepted the PGA, while others have established their own law to govern betting and gaming inside their borders. Wherever there is state legislation on gambling, it takes priority over the PGA. The phrases lottery, gambling, and betting are not specified under India’s FDI policy. Any agreement between Indian and foreign firms for the operation of the gaming business in India must be properly designed to avoid risks under India’s FDI policy.
Whether a game is created for educational purposes or just gaming, it is determined by court declarations in each case. For example, India’s Supreme Court ruled that horse racing betting is a skill game. As a result, horse racing betting is considered a skill game and is exempt from most Gaming Enhancement limitations. In the case of the Geeta Rani Union of India, the supreme court is debating whether sports betting is a skill game. Because casino games are primarily considered chance-based games, they are classified as betting and gambling activities under most gaming statutes.