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NFT will be a gamechanger for the gaming industry: Sunil Yadav

Adgully is back with a new edition of its annual feature – TRENDING NOW – where we present the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of the pandemic period.

Over the last few weeks, Trending Now has been bringing insights from industry leaders on how their organisations are geared up to seize the opportunities in 2022, break through the Covid disruptions and find growth and remain resilient.

In conversation with Adgully, Sunil Yadav, CEO, PlayerzPot, speaks about the emerging trends in the gaming sector in 2022, growth of gaming in the Tier 2 and 3 markets, removing ambiguity and stigma attached to real money gaming, and more.

What are the trends that you expect to dominate in your sector in 2022?

The online gaming sector in India is evolving significantly with a visible growth in user base, revenue, investments, and expansion. A report recently introduced by KPMG mentioned that the number of online gamers in India grew from nearly 250 million in 2018 to about 400 million by the middle of 2020. Slowly and steadily, it is expected to increase in numbers and reach $3.9 billion by 2025.

Regional Penetration

The twin forces of smartphone penetration and affordable data has attracted a strong emerging user base across Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. This is an encouraging trend for all the players in the gaming industry. They will definitely push their boundaries and put more effort into building community-led engagement across the length and breadth of the country. Add to that, the stigma associated with real money gaming is vanishing and more people are coming forward to play and hone their skills.

More Women Players

The second trend to witness is going to be the increased number of women players and their participation on online gaming platforms. At PlayerzPot, we witnessed a rise in female gamers in fantasy as well as casual gaming. Today, 15% of our user base consists of women playing various casual and fantasy games on the platform. The industry is paving the way for women to create their own space in the online gaming space - as gamers and entrepreneurs, both. Their contribution in the development and growth of the online gaming industry is remarkable. The participation of women players will increase, and it may not be so substantially-high compared to the growth that would be seen in Tier 2 and Tier 3 audiences. We can expect an increase in the percentage of female gamers from 5% to 8%.

NFT in Gaming

The third most important trend is NFT, which will certainly be a gamechanger. We can see NFT in gaming as rewards instead of points that players currently get after winning. Online gaming is one of the industries that has a potential to incorporate and adopt new-age technologies into their core offering by tapping into the potential of cryptocurrency.

What are the challenges and new opportunities that you see emerging in the year ahead?

The gaming industry has overcome a lot of challenges to become one of the highest revenue and employment generating industries worldwide.

Legality of the sector still remains one of the major challenges that the industry has been facing for a long period. Legality will clear a lot of ambiguity and stigma attached to real money gaming.

The other challenge is that people are returning to their offices and as a result they are going to be stuck with their daily office routines, where they will get less time to get involved in playing online games with their friends and family members. We might not see the result equivalent to the numbers during the time of the lockdown, when people were stuck at their homes and could spend more time playing online games.

We can see a lot of opportunities in terms of adding up newer games essentially into different arenas of full project products. With government support and the intervention of NITI Aayog and EIG, we could see the overall gaming laws taken care of. It will be developed in such a way that it is more conducive and favourable for companies to operate in India.

Eventually Tier 2 and Tier 3 gaming would be more of social gaming. As of now, there is no visibility of the players’ accounts, but in the future, players will be able to see players sitting on the other side of the screen. This will definitely become a gamechanger for the industry and allow more participants to come and play with more authenticity and credibility.

How is this year’s turnout expected to be in this sector as compared to the last two years? What are the changes that have happened in this sector in the last two years? How strong will this sector’s growth and recovery be compared to the last two years as well as the pre-Covid period?

We have noticed an upward swing in the online gaming sector. The industry is not only generating revenues, but also becoming a mode of entertainment and a source of generating employment as well as income. We, as a leading player in the fantasy gaming industry, witnessed growth, rise in demand and increased number of participants on our platform.

We grew as an organisation and generated 10x revenue, more or less it was a good period for us to grow. We are working in a manner to initiate all the activities and incorporate strategies that can help us to provide the best gaming experience to all our existing and potential new players on the platform.

Post-covid, people started realising that real money gaming is actually fun, if they play with all the information in mind and knowledge about the terms and conditions of the platform.

It’s a good change that we have seen over the past couple of years and are going to witness in the coming years as well. The pandemic has given a big boost to the overall industry, which was originally set to become a $122.05 billion industry by 2025 and is all set to achieve the target.

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