Online games seen picking momentum since COVID-19 outbreak

June 14, 2021 09:56 pm | Updated 09:56 pm IST - MUMBAI

Online games have picked up momentum since the outbreak of COVID-19, according to industry officials.

Lockdown measures which resulted in stay-at-home and isolation led people to relying on online entertainment, especially online games for recreation. In India, the gaming industry grew at a CAGR of 21%, during the lockdown, they added.

Mobile gaming, in particular, has seen a massive increase in India, with 7.3 billion game installs in the first three quarters of 2020. According to data from Sensor Tower, this accounted for 17% of the global total.

In terms of growth, the industry has seen growth in revenue, users as well as usage. The average time spent on mobile phones increased from 151 minutes before lockdown to 218 minutes during the lockdown, according to BARC & Nielsen report.

From $1.1 billion in 2019, the industry has been growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40% and is expected to hit $2.8 billion by 2022, according to a Deloitte India report.

Today, online games have more than 300 million users in India and still growing. Skill games, in particular, have provided competition and excitement the real-life sports activities provide, industry officials added.

Skill-based games, in particular, have become popular in the last few years according to industry officials. Online games of skill are usually played on mobile devices and India makes up for 13% of the global market share.

Some of the popular online games of skill include ludo, carom and trivia quiz, which have their roots in traditional Indian games. Such games require certain level of dexterity, knowledge and application of mind to win the game, they added.

“India has a long history of cultural and social games used for recreation and social engagement such as Ludo, Carom, Snakes and Ladders and even Chess. Modern day technology has allowed these games to come alive in their online forms. With necessary changes to their formats that include free to play and pay to play formats these games have become skill predominant thereby reducing elements of luck and chance,” said Rameesh Kailasam, CEO,

“The gaming sector is growing at a phenomenal rate, beating box office and music industries by a huge margin. The industry is particularly attractive for investors right now with $131 million raised for Indian online gaming platforms in 2020. This could be higher if not for the uncertainty of regulatory and policy frameworks currently,” Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation.

“There is a clear need for a light-touch regulatory framework and a balanced policy ecosystem that allows innovation and invites more investments. The need of the hour is to have the governments work and partner with the industry for holistic growth,” he said.

According to a BIS Research report the ‘game of skills’ market in India will grow over $3.6 billion by 2022. In terms of the users, a EY-FICCI Report released in March 2020 projected the number of online gamers to grow from 365 million in 2019 to 440 million by 2022.

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