'Gaming will drive a lot of employment for our country in the next 10 years'
On Day 2 of the e4m Game On: Gaming Summit, panellists opined that they see a lot of gaming companies and startups emerging in the next five years
Day 2 of the e4m Online Gaming Summit ‘Game ON’ brought together the best and most influential of the online gaming industry on a single virtual platform. The first-panel discussion of the day witnessed an intriguing session with leaders from the gaming industry pondering on the topic 'How Mobile is Revolutionizing Gaming in India'.
The session chair for the discussion was Nawal Ahuja, Co-Founder, exchange4media group while the panelists included Rajan Navani, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, JetSynthesys; Siddhartha Roy, Chief Operating Officer, Hungama Digital Media; Varun Mahna, Founder & CEO, Dangal Games; Nitin Goel, Country Manager Indian Subcontinent, Gameloft; and Varun Mahna, Founder & CEO, Dangal Games.
To kick start the virtual panel discussion, Roy shared how mobile is helping the gaming ecosystem saying, “The fact that India is expected to be over 800 plus smartphone base is a large, potent play in regards to connectivity and gaming. 75-80% of consumers who pick up a device and get connected are looking at some form of entertainment. Gaming in that sense becomes a very default entry point. Casual play in India is a very large play keeping in mind we have a young country. The propensity to pay may be low but they are willing to consume advertising to consume casual gaming. Consumers are consuming all formats of gaming be it immersive or casual and that is driving that opportunity. In India, as mostly younger consumers are online there is a format of mobile consumption that is driven. During COVID, there have been over 45-50 million new consumers that came in FY 2021.”
Navani, sharing the challenges he foresees, stated, “We have been present in the industry for over 15 years now. One of the things that we have identified in the mobile gaming aspect is the element of ‘disruption’ which we have gone through in these years. This disruption has helped the mobile ecosystem evolve in this state wherein today mobile gaming is the biggest source of revenue generation. When we look at the Indian market, the biggest challenge is monetization. Retention is also another challenge among users. Considering the game sizes are a bit heavier in size which we identify as an issue when it comes to retention amongst gamers. These are the challenges we need to address on our side. New monetization models are evolving in the market. We have to adapt to the new evolution that is happening across in terms of monetization like the Real Money Gaming aspect.”
Goel talking about the gap between Indian vs Global shared, “Brand, sponsors, and other industries that can benefit from the gamer and user is a big trend that needs to be unlocked in India. The entire area of advertising and sponsorship till now on gaming has been sub-par compared to anywhere else in the world and otherwise, it is a very negligible number. Gaming from a media aspect is also becoming a very strong aspect today, so advertisers too are looking into that engaged audience. The issue lies in validating the impact that brands are having through these platforms. It is a long journey. But with 5G and other technologies, the industry will thrive. We are at a sub-par and there is a lot of catch-ups to do. The government, stakeholders, and the gaming community are going to shape this. After which monetization and value creation will fall into place.”
Mahna remarked, “The importance as a gaming operator is to educate the users about what gaming is. It is important as an operator to keep driving the point that there is a stark difference between gambling and gaming. We have to get the taboo out of people’s minds. Recently, Gamification is something that is involving a lot of positive impacts, be it in a corporate world or schools. When it comes to Real Money Gaming, it becomes trickier when money involving different connotations has to be applied. From an operator’s point of view, it is important to distinguish between skill-based gaming and the gambling aspect. When it comes to real money gaming, one important thing is inculcating responsible gaming within your platforms. Once this aspect of responsibility is cleared, there will be a tremendous value for the shareholders who are investing in different gaming companies.”
Real Money Gaming is going to face headwinds once the false perceptions are cleared out amongst users and developers. Goel sharing his views on RMG says, “Platforms need to evolve and regulate themselves to ensure that these issues of RMG are taken care of.”
Roy talking about ad revenues in gaming shared, “In Gaming, there is supply that is growing exponentially and there are not enough ad dollars chasing them. The total advertising block has a sizable amount of demand to supply play out. So, when a brand looks at touching a community he is looking at the quality of consumer segments he can drive into.”
Sharing what will be required to accelerate the gaming industry, Navani citied, “For India, the gaming industry is a sub-billion in a 170 billion industry. So the catch-up for India is massive. We have 13% of the world downloads on mobile and the mobile industry is the fastest growing platform. I look at a CAGR of 40-50% annually. There are more global gaming studios that are using Indian talent and the nation becoming a part of the global supply chain in the gaming industry is another interesting format.”
On a concluding note, Mahna signed off saying, “I’m bullish about the sector. We might see a higher growth percentage and we might be crushing 3 billion dollars. From a gaming ecosystem point of view, we will see a lot of gaming companies, startups around the ecosystem coming in the next five years. The sector will also drive a lot of employment for our country in the next 10 years. We will see a lot of professional gamers coming out of our country representing us at a national and international level.”
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