With people working from home, social distancing becoming the norm, and limited physical sporting events due to the pandemic, online gaming has seen significant activity over the past few months.
The gaming industry in India has recorded a spurt in the number of gamers since the lockdown period in March which restricted the movement of people due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In India, 85% of the online gaming takes place on mobile. Convenience and flexibility have made mobile gaming extremely popular – especially amongst amateur and casual gamers. Gaming saw an increase in consumption in 2019, and was amongst the top five activities carried out on a mobile device. Time spent on gaming has increased by 21% during the lockdown. The reasons for this could be the presence of a young tech-savvy population (with 75% aged under 45), increased internet penetration, improved affordability of high-spec smartphones, and rising disposable income.
According to a report by The Power of Mobile Gaming in India’ released by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and Kantar IMRB in association POKKT, India features among the five biggest mobile gaming markets in the world. The mobile gaming industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world especially in India. Within the past few years, mobile games have become the entertainment of choice for people from all walks of life and across all demographics, as well as the option to have a career within the gaming industry.
The online gaming boom triggered by the coronavirus pandemic has channelled hundreds of millions of dollars into Indian gaming startups and set an investment record, data from private company data tracker Venture Intelligence showed.
Increased internet penetration in rural India has been largely driving this growth, with 40% of the active internet user base. This means that there is significant untapped potential for brands and advertisers to leverage programmatic digital advertising to reach younger target audience.
Venture capital funds have invested $438 million in Indian gaming startups since April 2020, of which $107 million came in the new year. In comparison, the total investment in Indian gaming startups in the previous financial year was just $170 million.
The pandemic also helped in terms of popularising digital payment methods, a key enabler in the development of gaming industry.
Most of the online and real money gaming platforms, including MPL, WinZO and Paytm First Games, reported a big jump in traffic, user base and time spent on gaming in 2020. Paytm First Games saw 200% growth in user base and a four-fold increase in gameplays in the first half of 2020.
According to Sensor Tower, an app analytics company, standalone gaming apps on Google Play Store and Apple App Store recorded 51% and 30% growth, respectively, in revenue from user spending on in-app purchases in 2020.
Traditionally the gaming sector has been dominated by men, however female gamers are now equally inclined to invest in gaming as entertainment. Even though gamers prefer to play games from multiple genres, male gamers are more skewed towards adrenaline packed games featuring Action/Adventure and Racing/Sports games along with other genres. Female gamers on the other hand are more inclined towards mentally stimulating games such as Puzzle/Quizzes. Females (at 79%) are more inclined to spend money on mobile games through in-app purchases. Male users over 15 years of age, spend 10-20 minutes per session playing mobile games per day across 4-5 sessions, females of the same age, including mothers, will play for about 8-12 minutes per session across seven sessions per day.
The younger audience of between 26-45 years are driving the growth at around 25%, followed by the older audiences. It is projected that nearly one-third of the gaming population is aged over 35 years in India.
Mobile game advertising can be delivered through banner ads or in-game ads. Banner ads are a great way to get started as they are simple and provide a full-screen brand experience. However, if it breaks the flow of the game, the gamer will be more likely to skip the ad. Video ads that are tied to rewards in the game can also be skipped but gamers receive a reward, extra life or unlock a new level in exchange for their attention, which encourages gamers to develop more favorable feelings about the brand.
There is an emerging global trend of collaboration/partnerships across sectors such as e-gaming, music, television, over-the-top media, e-commerce, and telecom operators, making it one-stop destination for consumers. Corporates are also using gamification for training, teambuilding, and customer loyalty. Edutainment-based games are witnessing high growth and adoption.
In-game advertisements enable brands to run awareness campaigns that integrate seamlessly into games without the option to skip. The interactive nature of these ads allows advertisers to keep players engaged by rewarding them with game benefits such as extra time, power boosts, or other features available through in-app purchases. These ads are almost impossible to ignore, which means that players are exposed to every ad that is also providing a positive stimulusi
While garnering content from the community of mobile players. Advertisers can leverage this merging of gaming and content creation for brand interactions. The high engagement of mobile gamers combined with the inherently social nature of user-generated gaming (UGG) makes it an ideal environment for in-game ads.