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Gurgaon-India's Emerging Gaming Destination

The change in consumer behaviour is also driving the demand for game developers, as more and more game-prenerus taking a leap of faith and are starting gaming companies

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The need to play is innate. The oldest sporting events are wrestling, dating back through cave paintings found in Mongolia in 7000BC, and the first Olympics recording 4 running events in 776BC. 

Naturally, as an ancient civilisation, India is not new to playing. From Chopad in the Mahabharata to Chess, a game, kings played with each other, India is well endowed with the cultural gene to play.

As a society, in India, we encourage our kids to go out and play thinking that it’s good exercise. While undoubtedly it has a lasting effect on the physical development of a child, playing, does a lot more than just improve physical development. In reality, our brains are firing away at complex problems. There is a significant amount of decision making, cognitive interpretation, muscle memory, interpersonal relationships, trust and several other complex functions and social skills that culminate into playing. This inherent need to play is mirrored in our digital world which is what leads to billion-dollar franchises like Rovio, Supercell and others. 

There are an estimated 1.8 billion gamers in the world and by 2020 India is poised to have more than half a billion gamers. Teen Patti by Octro will bring in your Diwali while you play Fifa just as you get ready to inhale football season with champions league and premier league. Apart from these, the personal favourite, PubG has stormed the scene with millions of users battling day and night. The AR game Pokemon Go became an instant hit in India with the country ranking 4th in the number of downloads. More such games like Harry Potter which got released this year has seen immense acceptance from the Indian gamers to become No. 2 top grossing adventure game in google play store.
 
India, with the second largest smartphone user base in the world, is now home to 1/10th of the world’s gamers and ranked 6th among global markets in the share of mobile game installs; a 2.9% of global mobile game installs. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2018-2022) of 9.8%, resulting in a market volume of US$943m by 2022. A study conducted by Google and KPMG in May’17 stated that the gaming industry in India is worth $890 million, ranking 16th in the world’s market share. Henceforth, gaming companies have moved from having India as their backhand help to developing games in India.

This significant increase in video gaming in India has taken place because of the rise in smartphone consumption, affordable latest gaming technologies, the rise in income level and an avid trend of individual escapism. All these factors have lead to a rise in opportunities for investors. Earlier this year, Paytm and AGTech Holdings (both backed by Alibaba Group) launched a gaming platform named Gamepind which aims to offer popular social games, casual games and sports games playing which the users can earn exclusive coupons and points. Meanwhile, Tencent, the world’s largest gaming firm, is planning to invest up to $200 million in Indian gaming landscape this year. Last year, Vietnam-based StomStudio also joined hands with mobile game publisher Gamesbond to create mobile games in India.

Interestingly, the seamlessness of mobile gaming brings with it a never before seen social layer as well. I had the chance to speak to a few people who have started conducting calls over the games. Still, others, claim that they’ve gone out on dates post-playing online with someone and while there is definitely a question of safety of going out in the real world with someone you’ve met through an online game, it’s still interesting that this is happening. 

The implications of the social nature of gaming hold a far more disruptive capacity than we may realise. Time spent on gaming apps is time spent away from other apps. Especially streaming services that may take a hit as engagement is purely one way. With gaming, it’s quite possible that streaming services like Netflix, Spotify and others see depleting activity on their platform, as the gamer within seeks more to do than sitting back and watch or listen.
 
Many gaming companies have their offices located in Gurgaon and NCR. Angry Birds creator Rovio is located here and there is a spike in the demand for gaming cafes with revenues of some jumping up by 60%

"There has been a sharp rise in demand of gaming cafés in Gurgaon that provide good ambience, tourneys and competition. We have seen a 60 per cent rise in our demand and revenues since we started in 2009," Gurgaon has become the new hub of gaming. With Smaash, BluO, Fun city amplifying your experience, kids and adults have found their form of weekend entertainment. BluO has a turnover of Rs 16.5 crore every year, this shows how gaming is a huge fad in Gurgaon. Gurgaon has seen a steep rise in gaming academies as well like Academy of Animation & Gaming (AAG Gurgaon) providing special gaming courses to students who look forward to making a career in gaming and have a separate faculty to assist players.  

The change in consumer behaviour is also driving the demand for game developers, as more and more game-prenerus taking a leap of faith and are starting gaming companies. Companies like Octro and Nazara are leading India’s gaming story. Like other emerging industries, there is a serious crisis and lack of talent, infrastructure and     ecosystem support. Recently, Gurgaon based shared workspace The Circle, located on the 5th floor of Huda City Centre, announced a Centre of Excellence (COE) in gaming, VR and other creative media. This COE was launched in partnership with Unity Technologies at present valued at $2.5 billion dollars, as the leading global Gaming and VR technology platform company in the world. 

Gurgaon or popularly known as the “millenium city”, has a lot to offer when it comes to the industry of gaming. With progressive opportunities and high disposable income, Gurgaon could be the next gaming destination in India. From Gurugram it shall soon be known as ‘Gurugame’. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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gaming industry

Anirudh Balakrishnan

The author is founder CEO of Touchdown Gurus

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