The Skill-Based Digital Games Crazes Sweeping India

The global gaming industry has undergone some massive changes in recent years and has firmly shifted from being a localised activity to a thriving digital ecosystem. With the rise of sectors like eSports and the constant innovation poured into gaming experiences, participating in gaming is pursued by a wide demographic of global consumers.  

In India, too, the gaming landscape is developing by the year. Enhanced connectivity brought about by the widespread availability of affordable data packages and gaming devices is fueling its popularity, particularly within the larger youthful demographics. The social nature of gaming in 2020 is also driving its widespread appeal, as Indian gamers look for new ways to connect with the wider gaming world.  

According to Google-KMPG, the Indian gaming industry will be worth over $1 billion before the end of 2021. There are currently more than 628 million residents playing games on a regular basis, making this young market a dominant new force in the global gaming scene.  

As much as traditional console games and PC games are popular with Indian gamers, there’s growing consumption of digital skill-based games and mobile experiences taking place throughout the country. This is led by the likes of Teen Patti and Digital Rummy, two games that have found their foothold in the Indian gaming community. Skill-based games differentiate from pure games of chance in that the outcome is based on a player’s knowledge and ability to play the game, rather than say the roll of a dice or spin of a wheel.  

According to a 2016 report, Digital Rummy games generated a total of 40% of the year’s online gaming revenues. It’s also been estimated that there are between 20 and 30,000 Indian gamers playing rummy at any given time. Indian Rummy has become part of the culture in the country, particularly in South India, and the availability of platforms offering digital variants on this traditional game only strengthen the social connection in the widespread community.  

Looking to build on the success of digital rummy throughout the country, a number of platforms launched at the tail end of the last decade that specialise in another traditional card game: Poker. Digital poker platforms have taken-off considerably well in the few years since they launched, with an estimated 300,000 consumers now logging on to play this mindsport. These platforms are also helping to grow the next generation of Indian pro poker players by providing sites users with a wealth of resources, including advice on the mechanics of the game.  

Fantasy Sports too, is a top-performing gaming market in India. Indian’s are renowned for the passionate love of sports like cricket, football, basketball and kabaddi, and digital fantasy sports platforms allow gamers to create their very own “dream teams” made up of real-life players. The market for this particular sector includes over 90 million gamers and it’s expected to be worth over $5 billion by the middle of the decade.  

Going Mobile 

Another digital craze sweeping the nation is that of mobile skill-based gaming. Over 500 million Indians use their smartphones as of December 2019, meaning that 77% of the country now has access to mobile gaming apps. 

In the skill-based realm, the demographic falls into two categories: casual gamers and invested gamers. Casual gamers, while loyal to games like Monument Valley and playing them frequently throughout the day, prefer free-to-play games and rarely make in-app purchases. This is also the category that many female mobile gamers fall into, as hyper-casual gamers are increasingly popular with Indian women.  

The invested gamers, however, are the ones who play to win. They’re more likely to make in-app purchases if it ensures their progress in a certain game and will download real money gaming apps as well as Ludo and Quiz Games. 

With many industry experts believing mobile to be the future of gaming, it makes sense for Indian app development companies to capitalise on this rapidly expanding market by releasing apps targeted to the country’s residents. India is now the fifth-largest mobile gaming market in the world, and the trends burgeoning here could soon be sweeping the globe.  

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