Screen time engagement has spiked for mobile gaming industry: Naman Jhawar, MPL

The gaming industry in India has been seeing a tremendous growth spurt, especially in the last 2-3 years, while the pandemic and lockdown have acted as growth accelerants for this industry.

Adgully turned the spotlight on this burgeoning industry with its latest property – GAMEXX 2021. The inaugural edition of this largest gathering of stalwarts from the fast-growing gaming industry that has risen to become a part of popular culture, was held on Thursday, August 12, 2021.

Bijoya Ghosh, Founder, Adgully, engaged Naman Jhawar, SVP, Strategies and Operations, MPL, in an interesting fireside discussion on ‘India: A Mobile-first Gaming Market’.

Opening the discussion, Ghosh highlighted the current scenario of the mobile gaming market, which has seen one of its fastest growing periods amid the pandemic. She noted that India today is one of the top five gaming markets in the world and the growth is not just in terms of people who play online games but also India’s potential to become a game developer to the world.

Founded in 2018, Mobile Premier League (MPL) has become India’s largest esports and mobile gaming platform and is playing a major role in growing India’s gaming industry. According to Industry sources, MPL is also developing its own Battle Royale Game, surely the next level of its growth. When asked to share his views on the growth potential of mobile gaming in India and factors that define India’s dominance at the gaming market, Naman Jhawar said, “There is definitely merit to what the reports are saying, and we at MPL also are seeing significant talent coming to the gaming industry. The overall market has a lot of potential that has been driven by 4-5 key factors. The year 2016 is a kind of year to remember as the inflection point for the gaming industry when it really came into action.”

Jhawar further said that two phenomena were observed:

  • The launch of Jio, which expanded the data penetration across the country and helped in rapidly increasing the number of Internet subscribers.
  • The rise of digital payments, which made a lot of digital businesses possible and also created sustainability in the business modules for gaming. This adoption was pursued by a lot of business developers for game development and platforms like MPL emerged as well and opened more ways for developers to monetise, as well as for gamers who were looking for good content in the gaming industry, especially for the Indian users. 

According to Jhawar, these were the two factors that contributed to the steep rise of gaming in the country. “From an overall base perspective, it’s a very large market – anywhere between 400 million and 500 million. Even though the monetised subscription per person won’t be that great, the base is so high that it is still a very meaningful market for developers, publishers and skill-gamed platforms like MPL,” he added.

Elaborating on how mobile gaming has given growth to India, Jhawar remarked, “What we need to understand about gaming as a pastime or a hobby is that every game has a natural learning curve. Initially, individuals pursue a game for its fun element and to explore the storyline or graphics of that game, but over a period of time, users and consumers shift to playing these games more seriously and investing their time in the game.”

“What the pandemic really did was shorten the cycle. During the lockdown, the average screen time was spent on engaging with passive content which was produced by Netflix or other OTT platforms. At the same time, active content consumption like gaming also went up. The entire process of trying out different games and then actually building a skill in a particular game, especially for platforms like MPL where we produce esports games, was also seen as people started taking some of these games more seriously,” Jhawar observed.

Watch the entire fireside chat below:


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