Indian gamers are evolving faster than the Indian publishers: Ankit Gupta, Google

There is no doubt that India today has emerged as a strong market for gaming. According to Invest India, revenue from online gaming grew 28% in 2021 to $1.2 billion and is expected to reach $1.9 billion by 2024. There are over 400 million gamers in India. Moreover, at a CAGR of nearly 30 per cent, industry reports suggest that this market is likely to be worth $7 billion by financial year 2026, according to Statista.

Delivering a keynote address at the second edition of GAMEXX Summit & Awards 2022, Ankit Gupta, Head of Apps Partnerships, Online Partnerships Group, India, Google Gaming, presented some ground realities of the gaming industry in India, even as he traced the growth of gaming globally. Speaking on the topic, ‘Importance of Data Maturity in the Gaming Industry’, Gupta said that it is very crucial to make sure that you are a successful business.

He added that while we all know that gaming is big, attracting a large number of users – depending on the sources that you take there are 400-500 million gamers in India spending tremendous amount of time on gaming, which can be compared with some of the mature traditional gaming markets – “but how did we reach here? How the gaming industry has evolved?”

According to Gupta, it is important to see how we reached here, and for that it is good to reflect on how the gaming industry has evolved globally. “If you look at the US and Japan, which were pioneers in computational technologies and graphics technologies, that is where in the 80s the video gaming industry started. The Western markets, where there were a lot of gaming pairs that fuelled the whole ecosystem of gaming, it established big publishing houses which were investing in building these high quality games which were exported to global users,” he elaborated.

On the other hand, China was a closed market, where these games were not able to penetrate, said Gupta, adding that the local publishers there saw an opportunity to copy the successful models from outside and make it available for local gamers. “That is how the whole industry got funded there and then they found an opportunity to then export their games to the global user, especially the US, India and other big markets,” he added.

On the other hand, he said, India is a very different story, because when Indians were getting more infrastructure access to games – whether it is PC, console or mobile – the India market was very open. And all the new gamers who were just experiencing gaming could easily have access to these internationally developed games, where no localisation was required for these genres.

“So, while some Indian developers were focussing on export markets, a lot of Indian developers found niche within India, where a lot of localisation was required, customisation or local language adoption was required or local laws were required to be made. That is where a lot of Indian developers found growth opportunities,” said Gupta.

He pointed out an interesting phenomenon that has been seen in the last few years, which is that Indian gamers are evolving faster than the Indian publishers. “Indian developers are demanding high quality games and nothing less than world quality games would do. Everyone wants to play the big titles and not restrict themselves to just Indian developers,” he noted.

Despite the complexities of the gaming ecosystem, though India is seeing it as a legitimate source of entertainment and it is crossing a lot of borders, the age barriers and gender barriers, it is still very difficult to see that despite all this growth, “India contributes to just 1 per cent of the global gaming industry” Gupta pointed out.

These are edited excerpts. For the complete keynote address, watch below:


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