Market Size of the online gaming industry in India
As of 2010, there were only 25 companies who had invested in the gaming market; whereas at present, the number of game development companies in India stands at 275. In 2018, the turnover of this market was $890 million. This increased in 2019 and the net worth of this market rose to ₹6,200 crore having approximately 300 million gamers involved in it. In terms of the number of users, India became one of the top five countries in the gaming market in 2019.
Over the past few years it has been seen that online games like Counter – Strike, FIFA, Ludo King, Fortnite, etc. dominated the online gaming industry until 2017. PUBG was launched in India in 2018, taking the whole country by a storm and thereby increasing the net worth of this industry. After the launch of PUBG, the number of mobile game downloads has increased almost 10 times as of before. This industry is expected to grow more in the upcoming years.
Rise of PUBG in India
This online multiplayer video game that is based on survival and scavenging elements, focuses on players eliminating their opponents until the last player or the last team is alive – who is declared as the winner of the game. This game, which was launched in 2017 (globally), has struck India like a storm. PUBG has become extremely popular in India within a span of 3 years and has over 50 million downloads and 33 million active users. PUBG Mobile has become the king of all online games making other games obsolete. It has been classified as one of the two unicorn mobile games in India. It mainly supports platforms like Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Android, iOS and PlayStation 4.
Rise of PUBG
The evolution of PUBG has occurred mainly due to two factors. The first factor being the evolution of smartphones. Over the recent years, Reliance Jio and Chinese brands like Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, etc. have dominated the market and helped in the rise in the number of affordable smartphones with better configurations.
Secondly, there are the affordable and fast data services. Although compared to the whole world, India’s internet speed is quite low; but this speed was enough for users to play online games like PUBG. Back in 2018, when this game was launched, the then scenario was extremely suitable for PUBG because at that time Jio services were also launched. The Jio services were provided at cheap affordable prices, making the telecom service being available to almost every strata of the society. The affordable data packs and plans vastly helped PUBG to become accessible to people living in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Therefore it is fair to say that the evolution of smartphones and telecommunication and network services paved a way for online games like PUBG to enter and flourish in the market.
Where is PUBG headed?
There has already been an increase in the number of users as well as an increase in the number of hours played by users, during this lockdown. It is expected that this number will continue to increase for this momentary time period. But when we talk about the future, as in the next 2 – 3 years, a lot of other factors come in.
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PUBG Mobile has excellently connected youths, even those from the remote corners of India and has opened up gaming horizons for other developers too. Furthermore, it has broken the stereotype that existed before in India where online games were considered as a form of relaxation for the youths, and not as something out of which anything productive could come out. PUBG has shown that this can become a career option too, owing to an increase in its number of users. For example, YouTubers like Kronten and Dynamo have gained millions of subscribers because of PUBG and has taken this as a full time career option.
It is expected that this game will have over 50 million active users at the end of 2020 and over 450 million downloads by 2024.
Competitors of PUBG:
This game has risen and elevated itself to such a level, that it would be difficult for any other future indigenous company to completely overthrow it from the market or even challenge its might. Furthermore, in the gaming industry, it is seen that audiences mostly get bored and search for newer options after it reaches a certain saturation point.
But in the case of PUBG, it is seen that with each of its new update, audiences are met with the benefit they look for, thereby making it difficult for its other competitors to enter the market. Other relevant competitors of PUBG would include Call of Duty and other multiplayer games like Ludo King. But it is highly unlikely that they will take over this game within the next two years. It has already made popular games like Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive obsolete. PUBG’s highest peak of success is yet to be ascertained by the world.
Future prospects of India in the gaming industry:
We have come to an era where cheap and affordable smartphones are easily accessible. The gaming industry is undergoing massive evolutions due to the evolution of mobile phones. Furthermore, with the lockdown going on in the country, and people having to sit at home all day, the number of users in the gaming industry has increased vastly.
Although the gaming market in India is still underdeveloped compared to other countries like China, US and Japan, but on the bright side, India has a vast scope to make this market as an important sector as myriad other companies are also currently investing in this sector. It is expected that by the end of 2020, India’s mobile games market will be worth of $1.1 billion and the number of users will rise up to 628 million. Its net worth is expected to be over $250 billion by 2024.
Furthermore, apart from PUBG, there are other trending multiplayer games on Google Play Store like the Ludo King and Carrom Pool. These games too are flourishing the online gaming industry, especially with people having to self – isolate themselves right now.