Game On: What’s next for the industry: Karam Malhotra, SHAREit

Guest Column: Karam Malhotra, CEO (India), VP Global, SHAREit, gives us a glance into the future of the gaming industry, particularly in the context of COVID-19

e4m by Karam Malhotra
Updated: May 14, 2020 9:39 AM
Gaming image

While 2019 was all about gaming becoming mainstream in India and penetrating across ages, 2020 was set to be the year of massive expansion of the industry. The online gaming segment is estimated to be a $1.1 billion opportunity by 2021, according to Google-KPMG. With one of the world's largest youth population, it would be fair to state that India is poised to become one of the world's leading markets in the Gaming Sector. According to the above-stated report, by 2021, India will have about 628 million gamers. Although nobody could have predicted the global crisis we are currently fighting, it has had major impacts on the gaming sector. Here are some of the factors that I see coming down the road for the gaming industry in 2020.

Online Gaming as a byproduct of social distancing

The most worthwhile and unexpected contributor to the growth of the mobile gaming industry has been Coronavirus. While the nation is adjusting to the lockdown, people now have ample time to take up other activities. Considering the world today is governed by smartphones, recreational gaming has thus become a go-to for most people. Gamers who earlier used to play usually in the evenings, now have the time to play even in mornings and afternoons.

Thus it is safe to say that while most industries are witnessing a slump due to the ongoing pandemic, the gaming industry is booming.

Moving beyond just cricket

In India, until about recently, a fair share of fantasy gaming has been taken over by cricket. However, consumers are now moving towards non-cricket sports and non-sports games.  At present, PUBG, football and kabaddi follow cricket in terms of popularity among daily fantasy players, with hockey, volleyball, baseball, and wrestling slowly catching up, especially with the increasing popularity of Dream11. 

The growth of PUBG and Free Fire is unlikely to stop in 2020. India’s new national obsession- PUBG, will continue its pace but, on the other side, Free Fire has emerged as a strong competitor and is currently witnessing faster growth than PUBG. The availability of such games on content sharing applications such as SHAREit has only made lives simpler for the gamers in the country that allow users to install such popular games without using the Internet.

Localization will be the key to winning gamer hearts

To ensure catering to a larger audience the majority of online gaming companies are customizing their games to suit region-specific audiences. The idea is to reach out to the consumers who are not well- versed in English and are playing these games but are missing out on the complete gaming experience. One cannot disregard the fact that with localizing of the gaming content, this industry will grow beyond leaps and bounds. To cater to this untapped market, companies are modifying their content to incorporate cultural, historical, and regional references.

Rise of the nostalgia trend

Games that offer a “blast from the past” like new Mario games have a much higher chance of reaching consumers. The gaming industry is always changing as new and more advanced technology becomes available to developers and gamers. However, in an industry that’s growing at a breakneck pace the trend to market nostalgia is at an all-time high with reboot after reboot of classic games being for the consumers. Be it millennials or an average 30 something gamer, they want to remember the past, the fun times they had and experience it all over again. This poses as a great opportunity for developers and marketers to re-master old classics and offer those to the consumers. Interestingly game lovers in India too are slowly also turning towards desi games. Recent trends show a spike in the use of games like Carrom and Ludo.

With the increasing demand for these trends in India, the gaming segment will be scaled a notch higher. At SHAREit we aim to meet this growing demand by offering one of the largest range of mobile games, from developers across the globe. Whether this is the next natural step in gaming, or simply a passing phase in its expansive history, or an unexpected industry boost 2020 is already shaping up to be an industry-defining year.

(Karam Malhotra is CEO (India) and VP Global of technology company SHAREit)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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