Good news for game developers. Indian gamers, who are known to love casual online games very much, are now paying to play games and the growth curve augurs well for developers.

The trend seems to have triggered a spurt in the number of gaming companies. The number has gone up to 900 in just 12-16 months from about 500 in early 2021.

“The industry is growing rapidly. Covid-19 accelerated the growth as people took to gaming to kill time. Thanks to the widespread use of UPI payment systems and increased penetration of smartphones, the number of people who are willing to pay to play the games,” Rajesh Rao, Convenor and Chairperson of IGDC (Indian Game Developers Conference) told businessline.

IGDC promotes the gaming ecosystem in the country by providing a platform for stakeholders to discuss development in technologies and trends.

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He pegged the number of gamers at 507 million in 2021-22, up from 450 million in the previous year. Of the 507 million gamers, about 120 million are paying users, showing a conversion rate of 24 per cent.

“What is really encouraging is the number of people that are willing to pay. This is not something unimaginable three-four years ago. The convenience in making payments has made it possible,” he said.

Contrary to popular belief, the gaming industry in the country was all about real-money games or games in the RMG category (the games where players pay fees to earn money).

Though the RMG segment comprised half of the $2.6 billion gaming market, segments like in-app payments and advertisements are witnessing huge growth rates.

“While the RMG segment is growing at 25 per cent, the in-app payments are growing at 34 per cent,” he said.

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Market outlook

With more and more gamers joining the space, including parents who always discouraged their children from playing games, Rao said the gaming sector was poised to increase to $8.6 billion by 2027 from the present size of $2.6 billion.

The industry has grown by 31 per cent to $2.6 billion from 2020-21 to 2021-22. “We are estimating that the industry would grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 27 per cent in the next five years to become a $8.6 billion industry,” he said.

Interestingly, the non-metros have seen a sharp increase in the number of gamers. “About 56 per cent of gamers are from non-metros,” he saiod.

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Growth in funding

He said the funding inflows into the industry were significant. “Exits too are happening. We will see more IPOs coming in in the next few years,” he said.

Quoting from the report ‘India Leveling Up – State of India Gaming in 2021-22’, he said gaming companies in the country had raised $2.8 billion in the last five years.

“The industry is on track to raise $513 million by the end of CY22,” he said.