'This is the golden decade for gaming'
Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Technologies & Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation, shared their views on 'How to make gaming grow in India' in a fireside chat at e4m Game On Summit
“This is the golden decade for gaming. Each segment of gaming and its technology can grow, provided we have some clarity at the policy level and on GST. If we ensure that, there would be massive investment in the sector apart from huge customer acquisition,” said Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Technologies, in a fireside chat with Roland Landers, CEO of All India Gaming Federation.
Agreeing with what Agarwal suggested and hoping that the upcoming rollout of 5G will further energize the gaming industry enabling better access, Landers said, “Legal framework at the national level and clarity on taxes will give a boost to the gaming industry. Besides, it will help address other challenges of the sector such as the skilling and gaming arena helping the ecosystem to grow.”
Agarwal & Landers had a discussion on “How to Make Gaming Grow in India: How Investments, Regulations and Partnerships can fuel the growth of gaming in India?” at the e4m Game On Summit, on Friday.
It is noteworthy that Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala had introduced laws to prohibit online gaming a few months ago. The respective high courts struck down provisions that prohibited and criminalized betting on and playing games of skill, including online games. The cases are pending for disposal at the Supreme Court.
Landers further noted that a lot of technological innovations in gaming and services are happening at present and over 1.5 billion USD investment has come to India in the gaming sector alone.
The fundamental issue around gaming is that it is perceived as a bad thing in our society, Agarwal says. “There is a deep cultural insight in society that one must go out and play and being on the screen makes one lethargic, weakens the muscles, stamina, and motor skills. On the contrary, it gives mental stability. Gamers are now going for commonwealth esports. They will require both physical and mental strength.”
Esports is set to be included as a pilot event in the 2022 Commonwealth Games after being officially sanctioned by the Commonwealth Games Federation. The Commonwealth Games are set to kick off on July 28 and will run until August 8 in Birmingham this year. While it'll be taking place at the same time as the regular Commonwealth Games, it'll be headed up under different branding, medals and will instead be governed by the Global Esports Federation.
Agarwal calls for mass awareness about online gaming. He urged, “Media forums like e4m must come forward and join the industry to fight this myth and create awareness that gaming is good. Our generation will take 5-10 years to understand that. But thirty years later, the current generation which is native to gaming, will be the decision makers, and then evangelizing would be much less compared to what we are doing today.”
On explaining the trends in the sector, Agarwal said, “I am very excited about web 3.0. About 400 million people in India are currently into casual gaming, mid-core or hardcore gaming. They will have an opportunity not just to use games for entertainment and competition but also to hold assets. ‘Play and win’ is the area where India can usher in a huge amount of growth.”
‘Play and earn’ combined with ‘watch to earn’ will accelerate the adoption of 400 million people, who are currently not part of the consumer transactions, into the cash flow,” he hoped.
Agarwal said that the number of people in multi-player games, which is currently less than 100 million, will shoot up to 300 million. "There is no experience better than playing a multiplayer game because every experience in that game is a new experience. Cloud gaming and then web 3.0 will make India the world’s best market for gaming with 30-35% CAGR. The foreign investors will flock to India as equity and public market investors.”
Landers said these factors coupled with tech innovations and investments will add to the gamers community that is likely to grow to 500 million by 2025. “Many teams in India are now collaborating with companies abroad and are going global,” he noted.
Agarwal said successful companies that have seen exits or created values will become anchors for their employees and also for the entrepreneurs in the ecosystems. He also cited the example of Turkey that peaked in gaming in 2017-18 and later had seen many exits. Now, many new companies have come up. In India, Nazara’s IPO, and Moonfrog, will spurt massive entrepreneurship.
India is lacking in the participation of brands into the gaming ecosystem, Agarwal said. “Number of gamers is increasing, consumer spending is increasing but we have not seen the participation of advertisers with the gaming companies to explore what can be created to build the communities around the context of gaming,” he said, urging the media to create awareness among advertisers about the stimulating community of gaming.
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