Pandemic gives boost to the nascent Indian gaming industry

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on November 17, 2020 Published on November 17, 2020

Industry size to grow to $4-5 billion in 3-5 years

The gaming industry in India has recorded a spurt in the number of gamers since the lockdown period in March which restricted the movement of people due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As people deal with the lockdown, gaming has emerged as an important tool for people to keep in touch with their families, relatives and friends. This has resulted in a tremendous growth in the number of players,” said Rajesh Rao, the Chairperson of the IGDC (Indian Game Developers Conference).

The pandemic also helped in terms of popularising digital payment methods, a key enabler in the development of gaming industry.

Marking the inaugural of the 12th edition of the IGDC on Tuesday, Rao told BusinessLine that some of the new entrants to the gaming space would become regular players. “And, some of them will become paying gamers,” he said. Due to travel restrictions and safety issues, the organisers have converted the flagship event of the game development ecosystem into a virtual event. The access to the virtual meet has been made free throughout the four days, beginning November 17.

The current size of the gaming industry in the country is about $800 million to $1.5 billion. “We expect this to grow to $4-5 billion in the next three to five years,” he said.

“The situation is ripe for the growth of the industry. We don’t see any roadblocks such as absence efficient devices and poor bandwidth any longer,” he said.

In-app purchases

Besides, people got used to pay through digital wallets during the pandemic. This will be a boon to the gaming industry, making it easier for people to make in-app purchases,” he said.

Asked about the likely impact of banning PUBG and restrictions by the Andhra Pradesh government on games like Rummy, he said these were two different things.

“PUBG was among several apps of Chinese origin that faced the ban by the government due to security issues. But then it triggered the development of games in the country,” he said.

“The issue with Rummy-like games is different. Courts have ruled that such games are skill-based games. The onus is on us (the association) to explain to the regulators and governments,” he said.

Rajesh Rao felt that the issue of shortage of manpower is the biggest challenge that the industry has faced. “There are not enough institutes and colleges which can offer courses. Training them (on job) is a huge drain on resources,” he added.

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Published on November 17, 2020
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