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Predicting the Indian games industry trends of 2017

Can it beat 2016?
Predicting the Indian games industry trends of 2017
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2016 was a big year for the mobile games market in India.

It saw more Indian-developed games top the local Google Play download charts, the introduction of carrier billing and demonetisation that could have massive ramifications for the normalisation of digital wallets and online payments.

But looking ahead now to the rest of 2017, what further strides can we expect the Indian games industry to take this year?

To find out, we asked our Indian Mavens:

  • What do you think will be the big Indian games industry trends in 2017?
Abhinav Sarangi

Abhinav Sarangi

Co-Founder at All in a Days Play

Predictions are always tricky, but I will give this a go.

I think we will see more India focused games in 2017, more specifically games localised in Indian languages.

4G internet penetration is getting to a point where a lot of people using internet for the first time are not very comfortable with English, so gaming content in local languages can open a big market to the intrepid studios who take this risk.

I think we will see a hit game on Steam by an Indian studio.

The trend towards developing PC games is catching on in India and we have a fair few good titles in development, so I expect some of these games to do well on Steam.

Vaibhav Chavan

Vaibhav Chavan

CEO and Founder at underDOGS Gaming Studio

Yes, we surely will be seeing lot of local games coming to mobile from India in 2017.

“We will be seeing lot of local games coming to mobile 2017.”
Vaibhav Chavan

Along with this, I feel VR is going to be big this year as the number of people trying VR/AR games is increasing.

We already got to catch a glimpse of a few good VR demos at NGDC 2016 that are in development currently. So I guess we might see couple of good, finished VR games out this year.

Adding to Abhinav's thoughts: even I believe this year we will be able to see at least one successful game on Steam.

We have seen some really cool concepts that devs here are working on with great execution, so I do hope to see some fabulous results on Steam.

Nikhil Birla

Nikhil Birla

Manager - Strategy and Alliances, Publishing at Nazara

I believe 2017 is the year we will start seeing IAP happening on a wider scale in India because of moves like digitisation of cash as well as direct carrier billing by Google with carriers like Vodafone and Airtel.

Besides this, carriers like Jio have also provided additional bandwidth capabilities to consumers which will enable downloading of higher quality games.

Other carriers are competing as well which end to end is working out well for consumers.

Idea carrier billing on Google Play
Idea carrier billing on Google Play

The trifecta of digitisation of cash, direct carrier billing and higher bandwidth provision will sync strongly and by the end of 2017 will have a great impact on the amount of money made from games.

The caveat being that the current grossing numbers are quite low as compared to other markets, and it will still take a few years for spending habits to change and for the market to become substantial.

In light of that, I believe there would also be a surge of new quality and IAP-focused games made for the Indian market.

Cartic P

Cartic P

Business Development Manager at Juego Studio Private Limited

I believe 2017 is going to be great, especially in terms of resolving the payment and connectivity issues.

It's not just Flipkart, Amazon and Facebook anymore who are analysing it to come up with a fix.

Now the government has stepped in, by encouraging digitisation of cash. I can foresee it's the perfect time for some payment gateway integration with the Play Store  - like the long-awaited Android Pay/Paytm.

I'm witnessing some indie game developers showing eagerness to launch games in Steam as well. They had launched cash on delivery and are expecting further payment integration with their Indian partner Novaplay.

I hope to see the some shift in the buying behaviour of casual gamers.

Laxmi  Desai-Khanolkar

Laxmi Desai-Khanolkar

CEO and co-founder at Apar Games

Since late 2016, there have been notable changes that have happened in India.

“Google is making free Wi-Fi hotsposts accross India.”
Laxmi Khanolkar

Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said “India is on threshold of becoming world’s largest digitised economy”.

Google is making free Wi-Fi hotsposts accross India. These efforts will certainly improve our most talked about issue: that India does not pay.

So mobile games will surely start seeing better profits. This will lead to more quality and variety of content being produced in Indian mobile gaming.

And yes, there are be some more PC games coming out of India (which includes our Scribbled Arena too!).

We hope to find a good Indian PC gaming audience too. VR and AR will remain on RND level and may not find their monetising opportunity yet in India.

Rituraj Behera

Rituraj Behera

Co-founder at Cympl

Mobile phone adoption will continue to increase at a rapid pace and India will climb up the leaderboard for one of the top countries in terms of downloads.

With the introduction of low cost internet and the government's aggressive push for 'Digital India' we will see improvement in consumption of mobile ads which will positively impact ad monetisation in terms of both inventory and eCPM.

Demonetisation should mark a move from banknotes to digital
Demonetisation should mark a move from banknotes to digital

The demonetisation effect of increased use of payment wallets along with Google Play's introduction of carrier billing with Airtel and Vodafone will definitely help with increased IAP in India.

Localised pricing in games will still be very important for better conversions, though.

Developers' increased focus on creating local content will hopefully help us see high quality and high production value games targeted towards the Indian market.

Felix Manojh

Felix Manojh

CEO at Flixy Games

I am confident that 2017 will be a wonderful year for the Indian games industry.

As per App Annie, India is already the #1 country by Google Play downloads with just 30% smartphone penetration rate.

I feel that local games made for the Indian audience using Indian brands would be driving a lot of new installs of games in 2017.

Demonetisation has increased the percentage of users transacting online and I expect this behaviour to give a boost to IAP by year end.