Will 5G propel India’s gaming sector to the top of the world?

Siddharth Puri, Founder Smile Internet and CEO Tyroo.

The Indian diaspora is a mix of gratuitously divergent cultures cramped into a small subcontinent with limited resources. As a result of the same, the country relies heavily on leveraging technology for professional and recreational purposes. With 5G on the horizon, change is of the essence and growth is the most probable direction. 

Due to the economic credentials of the country, the mobile tech space in India is magnanimous with 500 million mobile users approximately. This figure is just shy of China, a country vaster than our own. As a result of heavy reliance on smartphone tech, the mobile gaming space in India has seen stellar breakthroughs in a limited time. The affordability of data plans and mobiles in the country coupled with the launch of 5G and newer technologies, can leverage the Indian gaming sector above and beyond.

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Based on recent evaluations, the mobile gaming market of India accounted for $2.2 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow at ~30% CAGR to reach $7B market -- more than 3X in the next 5 years. Simultaneously, the Real Money Gaming industry has seen an increase of up to 2 times in its user base. The number of Indian gaming studios have seen a 5X increase in the last few years. A report by KPMG in June 2021 revealed that the casual gaming market in India hosts 420 million users. This accounts for approximately 97% of the total market.

With 75% of the population under the age of 45, India shows significant promise in becoming one of the largest online marketplaces. Moreover, a recent Survey result showed that up to 50% of new midcore and hardcore game users pay $7-$14 per month. This was further highlighted by the IAMAI report, indicating the impact of COVID-19 led to a growth in app downloads by 50 percent and leveraged user engagement that was up by 20 percent.

India’s chance to leverage 5G technology to become one of the leading markets for online gaming is a dream that is tangible and can be realized. India is transitioning from a net importer of global gaming titles to a global exporter of content. The introduction of 5G and its sheer accessibility to it, is indicative of how India’s gaming market will skyrocket. By 2022, mobile operators estimate cloud gaming to account for 25–50% of their 5G data traffic, according to the Mobile Video Industry Council. 5G’s rollout will shift the storage, power consumption, and processing power away from the personal computers and into the edge cloud. The future of online games requires extra bandwidth, ultra-low latency, and superfast throughput speeds, which makes 5G ideal for delivering cloud-based games. The rapid growth of 5G around the globe is generating an opportunity for cloud game developers. By 2025, cloud gaming revenues are expected to reach $12 billion, with a 25% CAGR.

Cloud gaming - online games run on remote servers, will be the most significantly benefited as in-game action will get smoother with a negligible lag in-game response. However, this will also benefit multiplayer games. In Esports as a category, even a lag of a mini-second can make a difference in the outcome of a competition.

Another unique benefit for India will be accessibility for the user base in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.  Improved speeds and lower-cost handsets will not only drive more penetration but will also level the playing field for players across cities and towns in India.

Technology powers more technology. 5G will see the dawn of mobile, augmented and virtual reality experiences. It will make technology-enabled gaming become a mainstream reality. OEM’s are catering for handsets with Higher RAM & better processing power in allowing better graphics, increased for complex games, encouraging developers to build games with better graphics and ultimately offer superior experience for long term viewer. This will bridge the gap between mobile gaming and mainstream gaming markets, allowing more people to join in on both competitive gaming and community-sourced gaming from more places.

Not just restricted to online gamers, but 5G’s impact on a gaming enthusiast’s streaming experience of online games could also be truly revolutionary. The new generation of networks will allow gaming enthusiasts to seamlessly stream competitions, tournaments, and games in real-time on different platforms.

Additionally, with the youthful diaspora quickly adapting to new technologies, it’ll only be a matter of time before India’s gaming sector becomes the pinnacle of gaming worldwide! 


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