It’s no secret that the Indian gaming industry is on a path of rapid growth. According to Lumikai, a gaming media fund, in its “India Gaming Report FY 2022“, the gaming industry in India is set to reach $8.6 billion by the year 2027. Of course, a majority of this growth is linked to the payment-linked gaming system that boomed during the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic was responsible for millions of people being locked inside their homes. With nothing much to do, the idea of exploring games seemed like a viable option. This viable option has now resulted in the rapid boom of a previously unexplored market in the country.
According to Lumikai’s report, India now has over 50 crore gamers. One-fourth of this (around 12 crores) were paying users of mobile games. Moreover, the pandemic caused an astronomical 12 per cent growth (about 5.7 crores) in the number of active gamers. Even more interestingly, mid-core games grossed about $550 million from the Indian market. Bear in mind that these are games such as PUBG and Free Fire MAX, which require you to put in time, effort, and improve your skills to play efficiently.
Considering these numbers, it can no longer be stated that gaming in India is “just a hobby”.
The reason for the growth
While the primary reason for this significant growth in the Indian gaming industry has to be the pandemic, a few other factors are also in play. For example, most gamers in India are mobile gamers, as the idea of consoles and gaming PCs in Indian households may still be an alien one.
Consoles such as the PlayStation 5 were difficult enough to procure in 2020 and 2021 as it is, due to a global semiconductor shortage. Moreover, now that these consoles are readily available, they require a fully functional, fast Wi-Fi connection and a decently-sized smart TV to be adequately utilised. Additionally, the cost of Rs 45,000 for a gaming and entertainment console doesn’t appeal to the broad Indian sensibility just yet. After all, you can start playing games on a mobile phone which need not cost more than Rs. 10,000.
This is without even mentioning the cost of building a gaming PC. With import taxes and duties, components such as graphic cards can cost almost double the price in India than what they do in countries such as US and UK. Bearing in mind all these points, it’s safe to say that the Indian gaming industry is propelled forward by the mobile gaming market.
However, this doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for the console and gaming PC market. The pandemic also provided a chance for the middle class to the upper strata of society to indulge in gaming. There has been significant growth in people buying consoles and components for their gaming PCs in India. For example, even though the PlayStation 5 was scarcely available in 2021 and 2022, numerous restocking efforts were met with instant sales for the console.
Growth on both sides of the market was shown in a unique manner, with Indian gaming YouTubers such as sc0ut raking in millions of subscribers. sc0ut now has 4.7 million subscribers on his YouTube channel and close to 4 million on his Instagram. This also depicts the growing desire of young Indian YouTubers and streamers to delve into the gaming scene.
So, this begs the question, what does it take to be a gaming content creator in the Indian gaming industry?
A Talk With Neuromancer 2077
Being a gaming content creator in India can be pretty challenging. From societal pressures to the already existent competition, there may be quite a few issues to work through. However, quality and quantity can go hand-in-hand, and we sat down with Imran, also known as Neuromancer 2077, to understand the nitty-gritty of the Indian gaming industry.
About Neuromancer 2077
Imran has been uploading videos on YouTube since 2019, with thought-provoking video essays on gaming tropes and in-depth reviews of the latest games. Recently, the content creator received recognition from the likes of Ubisoft for reviewing their games. Considering how difficult it can be to partner with such big brands in the industry, Imran gave us more insight into how the Indian gaming industry works and where it may go in the future.
Unlike the new generation of gamers in India, Neuromancer 2077 prefers working with consoles such as PC and PlayStation, citing his familiarity with these consoles.
“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had the privilege of playing games on dedicated gaming consoles. When I decided to hop into the gaming content creation wagon, using other gaming mediums wouldn’t have played to my strengths. So, I decided to stick with what I know best, which is highly important if you want to do well in this industry.”
An Ode To Mobile Gaming
Even though the Indian gaming industry is primarily made of mobile gamers, Imran doesn’t feel the need to shift to another medium. In fact, he states that mobile gaming has changed the way that Indian society looks at games, despite a few hiccups in the recent past.
“Mobile gaming during the lockdown has helped spread general awareness about gaming. Earlier, it was looked down upon as a hobby, at best, and as a waste of time, at worst. Now, people are aware that you can create a career out of gaming. Whether you’re starting off with mobile gaming or console gaming, these will be interchangeable in the long run. As long as you’re in the field, you’ll be able to explore and expand your horizons, and mobile gaming has to take a significant chunk of credit for that.”
What about the future?
It’s no surprise that people have questioned the future of the Indian gaming industry. From PUBG to the recent Dead by Daylight ban, mobile gaming seems to be hitting quite a few roadblocks on the way. However, Imran isn’t worried about that:
“The gaming industry will continue to grow. At the end of the day, games fuel our natures for storytelling and competition. Games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 feature excellent story-writing, which you won’t even see in many movies. For other games like PUBG, our competitive nature is fuelled by decent game mechanics and online play.
When you combine these aspects, you’ll notice that gaming provides some things that other mediums, such as movies and TV shows, cannot. Despite the recent bans, the popularity of gaming will continue to grow!”
What does it take to be a gaming content creator?
Finally, we asked Imran what an aspiring gaming content creator would need to succeed in this competitive industry. Imran’s answer wasn’t unexpected but was rather reassuring:
“It’s simple, really. You need patience and passion. This answer might not sound very unique, but it’s true. I’ve been creating content for years, along with my regular daytime job. You can’t expect to go viral or gain recognition overnight in this field, as you’re also subjected to the whims of the internet. Moreover, you can’t expect to be immediately good at what you do. You’ll have to keep practising, especially as you’ll be putting out content on the internet, where everyone can judge. You’ll receive some form of appreciation, while other comments may not be great. Basically, you’ll just have to block out the negatives and keep doing what you love.
Of course, you can’t continue doing something for years unless you have a passion for it. So, dive into this field if you genuinely love it. Keep at it, keep improving yourself, and I’m sure that you’ll eventually get rewarded for your work!”
So, with this, we end our in-depth look at the state of the gaming industry in our country. We thank Imran for his valuable contributions to the topic, and you can follow his exploits on his YouTube channel. You can also check out short Reels and follow his Instagram for the latest gaming posts. Hopefully, you’ve now gained a better understanding of the Indian gaming industry and what it takes to be a gaming content creator!
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Writer, researcher, and avid gamer. Geeks out over postmodern novels and the latest PC games. Usually intends all his puns.