The online gaming industry witnessed unprecedented growth around the world and especially in India in 2020. It was the fastest-growing segment in the entertainment sector where it had an 18% rise last year and was valued at INR 77 Billion, as per the recent FICCI-EY report.
This was mostly due to the pandemic which gave no options of outdoor entertainment or travels. It was reported that there was an increase in multiplayer games as well. This could be attributed to the fact that online games became a way to socialize during the lockdown. The thriving online gaming industry is expected to reach around INR 150 Billion by the year 2023.
Now, with the vaccines for COVID-19 becoming available, the real question is will it affect the growth of the online gaming sector. And whether players will continue to find time to play once things get back to normal. Chief Marketing Officer of Octro Inc, Manav Sethi explains that gaming is a behaviour formative phenomenon at scale and that this behaviour has changed in the last three quarters.
“People found gaming as an option during the lockdown, which didn’t exist in their life earlier. It won’t go away now. People will make time for it even now. Irrespective of the lockdown, gaming is emerging as a platform of choice for leisure,” he said.
The social aspect provided by these games are the features that have been drawing users to these sites. Family entertainment is one area that has picked up steam. Many gaming companies like Octro are now looking to invest in private tables and voice chats to make the users experience flawless.
Talking about the future of gaming, Amin Rozani, Group CEO, Spartan Poker said, “Gaming is going to be one of those verticals that will take a lot of precedence in the years to come. It is a new thing for the coming couple of decades which will keep changing, evolving, and becoming better day by day as we grow.”
The fantasy sports vertical is another area in online gaming that has seen a rise in its user base. With the ongoing IPL season, it has experienced even more growth. Founder and CEO of SportszXchange, Hari Narayan commented, “The social stigma around playing an online fantasy sports game, online poker, and online rummy is reducing. Once a regulatory framework comes into play, the number is going to keep increasing. The lockdown is just one parameter, but simultaneously a lot more people are getting hooked onto it. In terms of sheer audiences, there is just a vast potential for scalability.”
With more Indians moving to the online space to quench their thirst for gaming and sports, the online gaming industry is bound to become one of the biggest entertainment verticals in the country. Even with the vaccine, the fact that people’s appetite for gaming has become voracious means that it will continue to grow even after things get back to normal.
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