Comment & Opinion

Why 2016 is the year that India's mobile gaming market awakens

Why 2016 is the year that India's mobile gaming market awakens

Anuj Tandon is Head of Game Publishing & Marketing at Nazara Games.

Smartpones and India have become synonymous in the recent past.

India is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world and the main use of these smartphones are to watch videos, social networking/chat and gaming.

China has been the destination of choice for game developers in the last 2 years to grow their games using local publishers.

India is already one of the top countries globally for downloads with average monthly downloads of 200 million apps. With the smartphones numbers expected to reach 600 million by 2018 this is bound to increase manifold.

As the charts shows below in terms of monetization India is 6 years behind China as per Newzoo and currently is one of the fastest growing mobile gaming market growing at 130% CAGR.

SourceL Euromonitor, industry report, Newzoo

Here is how the market is shaping in India so far.

  • Growth of $100 devices,
  • Casual gamers who are data sensitive,
  • Growing game developer community catering to local and global demands,
  • Non Google Play distribution channels growing in India,
  • Credit card penetration low - no last mile for payments for mobile gamers.

Here are the macro factors that are improving in India

  • Launch of 4g services in India
  • Rise of Local IPs and content consumption
  • Carrier billing to become mainstream on all platforms in 2016
  • More powerful hardware at a cheaper cost.

For us right now in Nazara, we are playing the eyeballs game.

We are creating a network of users who can play multiple games and can choose the genre, game style, this is because of sheer size of Indian audiences and their variety of taste of content.

Local IP

One way to build on this strategy is to get local content pushed via local Indian IP.

Nazara has signed India's biggest kids IP - Chhota Bheem along with Bollywood celebrities and India's test cricket captain - Virat Kohli and this is just the start.

As gaming will move from early adopter to the masses local IP will be key for game discoverability.

Global games

Apart from IAP (which still is developing), India requires patience in monetization as it needs to be innovative from brand endorsements that can only be done with the help of a local partner which is a much bigger opportunity at the moment as compared to IAPs.

This is exactly why Zeptolab signed with us for Cut the Rope franchise, they needed a local partner who can grow their MAUs with localizations not just in content but also in monetization.

India is today at the same place where China was five years back and in two years with sorting out of basic infrastructure and payment issues, we have an opportunity to introduce gaming to a 700 million middle class.

2016 will be the year when finally a sleeping giant awakens.

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