India is identified as the fastest growing market by gamers and revenue, and is estimated to reach $1.6 billion in value by 2027, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.1% over five years.
In total, India is set to reach a total of 444.4 million gamers this year, up 12.1% year-on-year. This is forecast to reach 641.2 million by 2027, again rising at a CAGR of 10.1%. This would represent a massive 343% increase from 144.9 million Indian gamers in 2017.
While China is forecast to remain the world’s biggest mobile gaming market for the foreseeable future, with Niko Partners predicting 729.5 million gamers in 2027, it’s notable that the growth of Chinas playerbase is much slower. Should Niko Partners’ predictions prove accurate, this would represent a 21% increase from 605.2 million gamers in 2017. This suggests that China’s gaming market may have hit something of a saturation point, whereas India still has room for rapid expansion.
Mobile remains India’s most popular platform by a significant margin, with a massive 96.8% of the country’s gamers playing on mobile phones or tablet. This significant result is due to several factors. Mobile is comparatively affordable compared to other gaming platforms, with a wide variety of titles available, including free-to-play titles. Meanwhile, the increase in internet availability throughout the nation means that more users than ever before can get into gaming.
Mobile is king
Perhaps highlighting the popularity of mobile is the fact that an estimated 31% of Indian gamers are expected to spend money on video games in 2023, with average revenue per paying user hitting $6.38. Free to play games are popular in the region so this increase in those willing to spend represents a significant upturn in money making potential.
Niko Partners notes that the return of Tencent title BGMI and Garena Free Fire to the Indian Market are positive signs for the industry as a whole, and that foreign game makers are able to make inroads into the market. Both games have fallen victim to strict restrictions due to national security concerns, specifically relating to their respective developers’ basis in China.
Among the companies aiming for a more significant presence in India is Niantic, which recently unveiled its plans to increase the Indian monthly active users of its hit title Pokémon Go by a factor of 10 over the next three to five years.
We listed Niantic and Tencent as two of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2023.