Gaming is one of India’s fastest-growing sectors that attained nearly 40% growth in 2019–20 alone. This sunrise sector earned net revenues of $1.5 billion in the stated year and it is likely to cross the $5 bn mark by 2025. The Indian gaming sector recently surpassed the US gaming industry as far as the user base is concerned with more than 300 million users.
The gaming industry is largely driven by mobile phones, with multiple phone-based gaming apps being frequently released in the market. These accounted for nearly 86% of all gaming apps in 2021. The country also saw a 22% rise in the launch of various mobile games last year. With increasing internet affordability and faster smartphone penetration across the country, experts believe that this industry has brighter prospects.
Investors who are keen on exploring investment opportunities in the Indian gaming sector can go through this sector overview.
What does the Indian gaming sector include?
Digital games and sports in India broadly comprise the below-mentioned:
- Casual games make up nearly 15% of the total Indian gaming segment.
- The country had more than 90 million fantasy sports users as of 2019, making fantasy sports another major contributor to the gaming market.
- E-competitions that involve the usage of real money, such as online card games, are seeing a growth rate of 35-40%.
- E-sports has more than 17 million users in the country
Source – InvestIndia
The gaming market is being considered an important pillar of the Indian economy. It is slated to create lakhs of jobs across the country with multiple gaming startups looking to hire massively to support the growth story in the next few years. This sector is catching investors attention, as many wish to benefit from the boom in the Indian gaming industry.
Recent growth in the gaming sector
With the revenue growth in the Indian gaming sector since 2020, there have been immense job opportunities in this segment. There are close to 3,000–4,000 being directly or indirectly employed in this industry and more than 15,000 game developers. Many international studios started setting up various gaming development centres across the country since 2010 and managed to groom numerous gaming developers.
The gaming industry generated advertising revenue of close to Rs. 2,500 million in the first half of 2019 and attracted FDI of $200 million.
The total number of Indian gaming companies has multiple 10x since 2010 and today stands at a massive number of 275.
Source: – Indian Brand Equity Foundation
What will drive future growth in this sector?
Some of the factors that are driving growth in the gaming sector are:
- Young demographics
Almost 46% of the Indian population comprises people under the age of 25. 67% of the total population is working class in the age group of 15–64 years. Since demography plays an important role in ensuring the growth of the gaming industry, the current population structure of the country is considered positive.
- Internet affordability
More areas in the country are fast gaining Internet access at a cheaper cost. 1 GB of mobile data only costs $0.26 versus a global average of $8.53. Due to heavy internet usage among a larger population, the gaming industry is seeing more users being onboarded, leading to faster growth.
- Smartphone penetration
Currently, India has close to 500 million smartphone users. With a significant rise in smartphone availability across the country, gaming-friendly handsets are increasingly being preferred by more people. This is also a major growth contributor to the gaming industry.
- Government initiatives
The Indian government has launched multiple initiatives to boost growth in the gaming sector.
Some of them include setting up studios for animation, visual effects, etc. The government has also allowed 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector. Digital India is another initiative launched to help the gaming industry grow.
Possible hindrances to growth in this sector
Some of the possible hurdles that the gaming industry may face in its growth route are:
- Tough regulations
Data privacy laws have undergone many changes in global markets but are yet to evolve in the Indian scenario. Since the Indian market has not yet matured, various data protection laws are taking substantial time to adapt to the global changes. This could curb the growth of this sector in the near future unless addressed systematically and in a fast-paced manner.
- Protecting intellectual property
Registering software patents is not yet allowed in the domestic scenario except for hardware components that are embedded. Due to this legal hurdle, companies innovating standalone digital solutions may be at a loss. Gaming businesses must therefore ensure the protection of software code within the existing legal framework, including copyright protection.
- Multi-jurisdictional compliance
Gaming companies can achieve expertise in meeting the necessary compliances by hiring the right mix of legal and professional teams. However, this can prove costly and impact bottom-line growth, especially for start-ups.
Top stocks in the Indian gaming sector
Mentioned below are the top gaming companies (as per market capitalisation) listed on the Indian stock exchanges.
- Delta corp – Market cap of ~Rs. 8,800 cr
Delta Corp Ltd is one of India’s largest gaming companies and also the only listed casino gaming company offering more than 2,000 live gaming positions. This company is also backed by ace Indian investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Being the country’s first listed gaming company, it enjoys leadership and a competitive advantage in India’s offshore casino market.
- Zensar Technologies – Market cap of ~Rs. 8,500 cr
Zensar Technologies is a well-known digital solutions and technology company in India. As part of the RPG group, this company operates across two main segments, including application and infrastructure management services. The company set up a specialised Game Testing Centre of Excellence to help gaming companies make use of efficiency and speed aligned with testing and development objectives.
- Nazara Technologies – Market cap of ~Rs. 5,500 cr
Nazara Technologies is one of India’s leading diversified gaming and sports media companies with global presence. It has a range of interactive gaming and gamified early learning platforms apart from eSports. It boasts of more than 100 million active users every month. Millionaire Indian investor, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, is known to be holding 3.3 million shares of this company which is about 10.1% of the net issued paid-up capital.
- OnMobile Global – Market cap of ~Rs. 1,700 cr
OnMobile is an Indian telecommunications company offering a range of products including games, videos, tones, contests, etc. It has more than 100 million active subscribers and close to 1.7 billion mobile users spread across geographies. It launched a mobile gaming platform, ONMO, which is emerging as a breakthrough cloud gaming platform hosting various best short game moments from different popular casual games.
The Covid-19 pandemic led to multiple lockdowns in the country and resulted in severe economic losses. On the positive side, it managed to change the gaming landscape in the country, making it one of the global market leaders. With an estimated internet penetration of 30% in the near future, the gaming market is set to grow further.
Like any sectoral investment, concentrating investment in the gaming industry alone can be highly risky. It is sensible to use gaming sector investments as part of a diversified portfolio to maximise profits and minimise overall risk.
To select the best-performing stocks in the gaming industry, one can go through the list of stocks as per market cap. These can be further evaluated basis company fundamentals and past performance.
Is India a market leader in the gaming industry?
India is among the top five market leaders in the global gaming industry. It is also the second-largest gaming market in the world, with more than 250 million gamers.
Currently, the gaming industry is required to follow both domestic and global regulations to a certain extent. While the central government of India is trying to provide support to the domestic gaming industry with ease in FDI, etc, the global regulations remain stringent.
There are currently more than 400 gaming companies in India, including some of the listed giants as well as startups. (source – Economic Times )