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'Govt support is helping gaming start a new chapter'

At the e4m GameOn Summit, a panel of industry experts shared insights on 'The decade of gaming and gaming investments in India'

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Mar 12, 2022 9:32 AM  | 5 min read
e4m GameOn summit

On the back of the surging popularity of mobile games during the pandemic, India's online gaming industry saw record investment in the first nine months of 2021. The growth led to several global players exploring the Indian market through partnering/ acquiring domestic companies.

It is worth noting that the last decade has seen the rise of gaming as an investable bet in the absence of a firm policy outlook; however, we can expect the situation to be different in 2022 with the GoI setting up a promotion task force for the AVGC sector. 

At the e4m GameOn Summit, panellists explored investments in the gaming sector in India. The session was chaired by Ruhail Amin, Sr. Editor, BW Businessworld, Executive Editor, BW Applause. Abhishek Issar, Founding Member, FEAI; Rajan Navani, Founder & CEO – JetSynthesys; Gagan Narang, Founding Member, FEAI & President, Telugu Esport Association; Vishal Gondal, founder of GOQii and nCore Games and Salone Sehgal, General Partner, Lumikai Ltd, were among the panelists. 

Sehgal, who has been tracking the gaming markets from global and domestic perspectives for the past one decade, shared that when Lumikai was launched in 2020, they were and still are the first in the sector to focus on gaming fund in the country. 

“There were a couple of inflection points that we saw in the market, and those inflection points have since then panned out. At the time of launching a fund, it was like India doesn't pay for games. India will never be able to justify a venture strategy for gaming and these were the narratives we used to hear about the market at the time of the launch. 2020 brought a broader picture of game usage, game adoption, game monetization, and infrastructure that all converged in a way that never happened before. In 2020-2021, India emerged as one of the world's largest markets for gaming as it constitutes 17% of the mobile gaming download. And in terms of payment infrastructures, digital transactions account for nearly 40% of transaction volume today,” shared Sehgal. 

She further added, “In terms of monetization, we at Lumikai, after a research was done last year, discovered that India's gaming market is at $2.2 billion, and we projected that it to grow by 30% over the next three years to $7 billion. With IAP (In-app purchases) we're going to be growing at a CAGR of 36%. We are a market of 450 million gamers, 100 million Battle Royale players and 100 million users that are paying today."

To sum up the last two years of gaming in India and where we are today, Issar said, “One is the business side of the gaming industry and the other is attributing to policy support. We are witnessing the beginning of a new chapter as far as India’s gaming market is concerned as the industry is getting support from the government of India with a firm policy in place. We feel that the actual growth story of this country is, by far, not really calculated or considered. Our main endeavor has been to make sure that we can support the policymakers with respect to a policy framework.” 

According to Navani, in the last decade gaming has definitely been a big one, especially the last two years. The growth is driven by the engagement, development of e-sports, and the interests from the entire world in India. Every month we add 5-10 billion gamers and also strengthen engagement with existing gamers.  A large number of trends that have accelerated gaming and will continue to do especially with 5G and any other new technology set of development coming.” 

On the regulatory front, he shared, “There is no clarity in some of the areas where the government can play a big role and help the industry to grow.” 

Gondal of GOQii added, “We launched India’s first e-sports tournament some 20 years ago. e-sports, today, stands at a very important juncture, it's the IPL moment for e-sports today. The reason I am calling it an IPL moment is because it can really become big and take off. Currently, none of the games is making billions of revenues, that is the reality. The bulk of that revenue is going to all these other kinds of games. While we welcome the government's involvement in the sector, we also know the sector is not taken care by any association like BCCI is there for IPL. It is only run by professionals from this field. In countries like India, people are confused about what is gambling and why it requires government intervention.”

Agreeing with other panelists' viewpoints, Narang said that the idea is to have a very inclusive approach where we have the industry's and the players' requirements safeguarded. “More importantly, the stakeholders need to be taken care of and everything needs to revolve around the athletes and create an environment which is friendly for everyone to prosper. The whole idea of gaming opens up a lot of opportunities for people. We will see exciting times ahead,” he concluded.

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