Gaming: What to expect from the Indian gaming and e-sports industry in 2022
Some insights on the future of the Indian gaming landscape in the new year

Gaming: What to expect from the Indian gaming and e-sports industry in 2022

Some insights on the future of the Indian gaming landscape in the new year
  • In our last feature from the series where we crystal-gazed into 2022 and brought to you some key trends that will impact the industry, we speak to experts from the Indian gaming industry.
  • They share their thoughts of a few big trends that will dominate the industry in 2022.
As we enter 2022, we can only look back and wonder at the meteoric rise online gaming has seen in India in the past two years. While gaming had been witnessing growth, albeit a relatively slow one, before the lockdown, it was during the locked-at-home phase that many across the country not only discovered the joys of gaming, but also realised they could make a healthy living out of it.

If most reports coming out in the last one year are to be believed, India will see an even faster growth for the industry in the next few years, and now Bharat is joining in this growth. A recent report by Mobile Premier League (MPL), an esports and skill gaming platform revealed that India’s tier-III cities and towns have witnessed a significant rise in the number of online gamers in 2021. The top 30 of them reported up to 170% more gamers compared to 2020. Some of the small towns have more than 100% to up to 200% growth in online gamers. Another report by Sequoia India and BCG said that while the gaming industry in India is currently smaller than that of the US and China and is 1% of the global gaming market, it is generating $1.5B revenue and is expected to triple to over $5 billion by 2025 on the back of the ‘mobile first’ phenomenon.

This massive growth has also led to a new breed of influencers who are being followed by hundreds of thousands of engaged audiences. YouTube’s recently released list of top Indian creators on its platform featured 5 gamers. And things are just about starting to get heated.

To understand where this highly dynamic industry is headed in this next year, we reached out to a few prominent voices from the industry and this is what they had to say:

Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF)

Gaming: What to expect from the Indian gaming and e-sports industry in 2022

India was a sleeping giant till Covid-19 happened, and now we have established ourselves as a market that cannot be ignored; Stakeholders like the brands, investors, authorities and so on, were just sitting on the fence and observing. But with a market of at least 450 million online gamers, the potential of video games and esports cannot be ignored. The year 2021, has been the inflection point for video games in India.

While esports evolves itself into various business models, Non-fungible token (NFT) will be one big trend to watch out for in 2022. Video Games is the best use case for NFTs, customization of the skins, virtual avatars, in-game items/rewards etc. all this already exists in video games (so-called metaverse) and is now starting to be converted into NFTs. One of the key drivers for the meteoric growth of Video Games has been live streaming and esports, and such content creators and/IP holders will eventually look at converting the best of gameplays/streaks/moments into NFTs, which not only help increase monetization for content creators, video game developers etc. but also be a catalyst in terms of retention of fans and users respectively.

Anirudh Pandita, Founder, Loco

Gaming: What to expect from the Indian gaming and e-sports industry in 2022

Gaming has now arrived as a truly mainstream entertainment experience and has become the primary source of entertainment for India’s young generation. 2021 saw the rise of esports and game streaming, and 2022 will see this multiply. In 2021, we saw the arrival of BGMI which all Indian fans were waiting for and in 2022, we will see multiple big publishers release games for India. In 2021, we saw esports go to new heights and we will see continued growth in the sector in the next year as prize money as well as number of games will increase. Game streaming saw the entry of hundreds of thousands of new streamers and millions of viewers, and this trend should accelerate in 2022, with individual streams rivaling those of major traditional sports. Lastly, with blockchain providing interesting use cases, we expect to see interesting new use cases come out to help creators and consumers. We, at Loco, have always aimed at paving the way for gaming to go from a niche hobby to a mainstream national interest- which the year 2021 has helped realize. We are confident that with this, India will cement its place on the global gaming map in 2022.

Abhishek Aggarwal, Co-Founder & CEO, Trinity Gaming

Gaming: What to expect from the Indian gaming and e-sports industry in 2022

The gaming industry is progressing, taking complete advantage of the latest developments in technology, software, better internet services, gadgets, cloud technology and more. In the Indian scenario, there is an explosive growth of gamers in this booming industry with creative and engaging content being an important aspect of the system. With more games introduced and with more people joining the pool, more brands are shifting their focus on marketing their brands through these young creators who have an enormous fan following across the age group of 15-30 which is the most targeted audience in advertising terms for both endemic and non-endemic brands.

Gaming content has begun to penetrate the Tier II, Tier III locations, and beyond, giving vernacular content creators a chance to grow. With Hindi & Tamil being the two most popular languages in streaming in India, it will surely gain more prominence in the coming time. More people will watch game streaming. Audiences tend to admire their creators and feel more connected to them due to their high level of engagement.

The future of gaming beholds a lot and a stronger and classified gaming ecosystem is on the rise.

Tarun Gupta, Founder, Ultimate Battle

Gaming: What to expect from the Indian gaming and e-sports industry in 2022

Games and gaming content are highly engaging and we're seeing a huge spike in average and concurrent viewership for gaming content. The consumers are very dynamic and their attention span size has decreased noticeably in GenZ. We see short gaming video content to witness a never seen before hype in the gaming community.

The mobile gaming market is expanding in tier 2 and tier 3 cities and we'll witness a rise in engagement in games, viewership, and content creation. Young gamers will play engaging games, consume fast-paced engaging content, and want to socialize with gamers often simultaneously. This will lead to more virtual world socialization among the young generation and higher consumption of gaming content.

As such, 2022 will usher higher inclination by brands into the gaming industry to target the young age group of 18 to 25. With many startups and organizations focusing on gaming and esports, we'll see a spike in Esports events and team IPs being created. This will boost the gaming ecosystem in India and open multiple opportunities in careers for gamers and IT professionals.

Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation

Gaming: What to expect from the Indian gaming and e-sports industry in 2022

The Indian gaming industry along with the M&E segment has now become one of the fastest growing sectors in India with around 7.3 Bn downloads in recent years. It has emerged as an important avenue due to a multitude of favorable factors such as young and tech-savvy population, affordable availability of feature-packed smartphones, better internet connectivity, and an overall technological development. The move has also accelerated the growth of multi gaming format in the online gaming space.

The Indian gaming industry is expected to reach 3 billion by 2025 and is now projected to grow faster than the global online gaming segment. The industry currently employs 40,000 people in direct jobs and by 2024 the online skill gaming industry is expected to employ around 2 lakh people. This growth will further lead to revenue generation for the country, driven by ease of payment, better security and instant withdrawal of winnings etc. As the regulatory landscape is also evolving and positive judgments are expected from many states, we as an industry leader look forward to an exciting year for this sunrise sector. With its exponential growth, the gaming industry will also attract international investors to invest in the Indian market.

Sameer Barde, CEO - E Gaming Federation

Gaming: What to expect from the Indian gaming and e-sports industry in 2022

Online gaming will become increasingly mainstream and find acceptance as a source of entertainment in 2022. This year, we anticipate a growth rate of over 35 % for the sector as a whole. However, for this to happen, we hope to see government stakeholders accepting the need for regulation to protect the player and industry interests. Increasing monetization and adoption of new-age technology including blockchain and NFTs in the gaming ecosystem will be seen. We expect a larger number of players moving from free-to-play to paying-to-play, in-game purchases, and skill gaming. Industry players will develop new and exciting games for users based on traditional games and Indian themes, keeping the PM’s vision in mind. Additionally, e-Sports being a medal sport in the forthcoming Asian Games in September will result in a significant increase both in terms of acceptance and interest. All in all, we at EGF are excited and believe that this will be a bellwether year for the entire industry.

Bhavin Pandya, CEO and Co-Founder, Games24x7

Gaming: What to expect from the Indian gaming and e-sports industry in 2022

The Indian online skill gaming industry is poised for tremendous growth. With the right support particularly in the form of progressive policy structures, gaming can spur a second software revolution in India. As of today, this industry offers direct employment to almost 50,000 people. It is also a major source of taxation for the exchequer. In addition, the sector has multiplier benefits for several other domains including fintech, banking, semiconductors, animation, and other aspects of Information Technology. The sector has witnessed significant investments from marquee international investors and accounts of several Unicorns. With the right encouragement and support, India can emerge as a global pioneer in gaming technology.

Ankur Singh, CEO and Founder, Witzeal

Gaming: What to expect from the Indian gaming and e-sports industry in 2022

We believe that the gaming sector will continue to expand with the high end adoption of AI and data science to understand and provide users experiences they wish for. Future of gaming will likely be based upon newer technologies like Blockchain and its active usage would prove fruitful in the years to come. Another key trend to look forward to is the penetration of gaming in rural areas because the penetration of internet and smartphones is on a gradual rise.

Yashash Agarwal, Co-Founder and CEO, Gamezop

Gaming: What to expect from the Indian gaming and e-sports industry in 2022

Blockchain gaming is shaping up to be a very interesting space. We are already seeing very interesting games emerge with blockchain and NFTs at the heart of all the action. Games like Axie Infinity have popularized the Play to Earn mechanic and they have been able to scale engagement as well as monetization to huge numbers.

Take it one step further and we see that decentralization is fundamentally changing how companies operate: all the way from raising money, to day-to-day governance. This is most notable in DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organisations), which follow a bottom-up, community-driven management style.

We are excited to see the blockchain gaming projects that emerge from India!

Vaibhav Odhekar, COO & Co-Founder, POKKT

Gaming: What to expect from the Indian gaming and e-sports industry in 2022

The gaming industry is constantly evolving, and its popularity will continue to rise. In the last three years, the sector has welcomed 500 million new gamers globally. New technological breakthroughs such as virtual reality have provided another dimension towards entertainment in this domain. For many young folks, the industry has also become a viable career option.

Talking about the trends- The audience will continue to diversify in the coming years. So, instead of a male/female audience bias, we'll have a nearly 50-50 gender split, with a lot more older people joining the online gaming space. India is expected to create more global content. Although the percentage is extremely low right now, as more high-quality content is created in India, the trend will improve. Also, e-Sports as a category will grow in popularity.

In 2022, there will be a significant increase in the number of movies released worldwide. So, the biggest trend we anticipate to see is a lot more games based on movie franchises. Gaming has its own history of adapting films and gamers are enthralled by such games.

Video games are a vast medium that covers a wide variety of genres and experiences that can only be experienced in games, along with contributions from a population from all over the world. Even while many modern games are inspired by movies, they are nevertheless unique in their own way and we expect them to expand in the coming years.