The Indian market for games is one of the largest in the world, but not all genres are created equal. Here’s what Indian audiences are playing the most of.
The gaming market in India has completely exploded in recent years, multiplying in size and looking set to continue its impressive growth in the future, which is making many investors reorganise their global portfolio management of certain markets so they can take full advantage. Online gaming alone earned 135 billion rupees in 2022, more than four times the amount it made in 2017, and it is predicted to bring in 231 billion rupees in 2025.
With around 421 million online gamers, around a third of India’s population takes part in this form of entertainment. This is less than the global average of around 40 percent, but higher than many markets; for example, editorials from Uswitch studies suggest only around 25 percent of the UK populace lays online games.
While the industry is an extremely large market in India, it can be difficult to group under a single umbrella term like “gaming”. The audience for a sci-fi action game, a mobile puzzle game and a complex economic strategy game are all completely different, even though they’re all the same media type.
Which genres in particular are popular with the Indian consumer base? Here are the top categories of games chosen by Indian players.
From sci-fi to military, the shooter genre covers a wide range of action-packed games all linked by the common mechanic of defeating enemies with an assortment of weapons. This is the most popular genre in India, being enjoyed by around 34 percent of gamers.
This is slightly skewed towards male players, 36 percent of whom play shooters compared to 30 percent of women. However, shooters are popular throughout the Indian gaming market.
There are a number of reasons why this particular genre is so popular, but one of the major ones is speed. One of the aspects of online gaming that many enjoy is competition, and being able to play games quickly enhances that.
The action-packed nature of the genre also adds to its appeal. For those who like an adrenaline-filled experience when they play games, there aren’t many genres that can provide more excitement than shooters.
There are a number of different types of mobile games, but all of them are hugely popular in India. In fact, the country is the largest gaming market in the world when it comes to app downloads, and its high levels of smartphone penetration makes mobile gaming one of the easiest options for its population.
With over nine billion games downloaded in 2022, it’s clear India loves its mobile experiences. Some of the most popular games include Indian Bikes Driving 3D, an open-world action experience, and the classic board game Ludo King.
Of course another major title is PUBG: Battlegrounds, which is so popular in India that the country is responsible for approximately 25 percent of global downloads of the game. This is helped by the increased rate of smartphone penetration in India, with 71 percent of the populace now owning a device that can run mobile games.
There’s also a significant segment of the Indian market that enjoys real-money games, including virtual casinos and slots. These can be easily enjoyed on a smartphone, which has led to the increased popularity of games like Gonzo’s Quest.
A surprising trend over the last decade has been the rise of hypercasual games, perhaps the most famous of which is Flappy Bird. Rather than relying on top-of-the-line graphics and gameplay to entice users, these titles offer a relaxed experience that can be enjoyed without paying too much attention.
India is a growing market for this genre, with a 32 percent increase in app downloads on Android between 2021 and 2022; the fastest growth rate in the world besides Turkey’s. These simple games are a major part of India’s overall industry and could see even more growth throughout 2023 and beyond.
It is easy to see why this particular genre has become so popular. The busy lifestyle of many modern Indians leaves little time for gaming, so a group of titles that can be played during a commute or on a quick break has a clear appeal.
There are dozens of other genres of game that have significant penetration in the Indian market, and the nature of the industry is that even niche games can gain passionate fanbases. However, Indian consumers tend to gravitate towards more casual games that provide quick, fun thrills and easy experiences.
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