To increase the country’s share in the space, Mobile gaming firms in India are turning to professional gaming, or e-sports.
India has emerged as a go-to nation for mobile gaming, ranking at the top of most reports. This trend will lead Indian gamers towards professional gaming, according to experts. India does not have much of a presence in the professional gaming industry though e-sports has existed in India for years.
“Someone starts off as a casual gamer, then becomes a mid-core gamer, and eventually looks at how they can become a professional gamer,” said Rajan Navani, co-founder of JetSynthesys, one of the largest gaming companies in India. Chennai-based SkySports last week was acquired by JetSynthesys. They now plan to push into grassroots markets where e-sports have been picking up.
Earlier this year for a mobile game called Ludo Zenith JetSynthesys had partnered with Japanese gaming giant Square Enix. It also has cricket-based games like – Sachin Saga and Real Cricket. They also plan to increase the complexity of those games to add that professional element.
“We are building that into a truly representative e-sports kind of game that can go out of India,” Navani said. “It requires significant investment and a very good understanding of how players will compete. You have to make sure that the fair play piece is strong in the game and enough strategy and technique is required to be better than others.”
Keerti Singh, co-founder and vice-president of growth at Hitwicket, agreed. The company’s first game was modified to casual gaming and it launched a new one called Hitwicket Superstars in 2021, which is meant for more professional gamers. It was a hit and won the Prime Minister’s Atma Nirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge last year and partnered with New York-headquartered gaming firm Tilting Point for acquiring users overseas.
The company plans to hold its first online tournament this year and an offline event in 2022, with bigger ones in 2023. Product decisions the company is taking today are driven by these goals, Singh said. The company has been speaking to e-sports players, Singh said. More of these strategy and skill-based games have been topping the charts in terms of downloads, she said.
The casual gaming market in India has 420 million users, according to a June 2021 report by KPMG out of which, 94% is accounted for by mobile users, and 9% to 4% of personal computers and consoles. Ad revenues were ₹36.2 billion in 2021, while in-app purchases were ₹24.1 billion this year. The report shows that numbers will grow to ₹98.9 billion and ₹69.7 billion, respectively, by 2025.