December 5, 2023

Online gaming in India has gone mainstream in the last few years, propelled by the pandemic, the increasing penetration of mobile internet, the rich diversity of homegrown games, and so on. A new research by gaming-focused VC fund Lumikai and AWS reveals that more than half of India’s gamers now hail from non-metro locations — a trend that reiterates and reconfirms the mainstreaming of the industry. Only 44 per cent of gamers came from metro cities in 2022, per the report.

In terms of demographic split, 40 per cent of Indian gamers today are women, which goes on to shatter the gender stereotypes typically associated with the gaming industry. Women, in fact, spend more time (11.2 hours per week) on an average non online games than men (10.2 hours), according to the ‘State of India Gaming Report 2022’. Women gamers typically prefer casual games and strategy games, while men are predominantly opting for action adventure or real money gaming (RMG) titles. 

Most Indian gamers now fall in the 18-30 age bracket (millennials and Gen Zs), with an impressive 64 per cent of them making regular in-app purchases to proceed in the game journey. More than half of these paying gamers have begun payments in the last 12 months, which indicates the maturing of the ecosystem. Their willingness to pay is also driven by new content/levels (43 per cent) and better in-game items (44 per cent), according to the report. 

Esports, meanwhile, is one of the most popular genres with a plethora of gaming platforms now offering larger prize pools and wider game coverage to attract more and more users. The number of esports players in India grew 4X from 1.5 lakh in 2021 to 6 lakh in 2022. “The Indian esports industry grew to $40 million in 2022 and is expected to reach $140 million by 2027 at a CAGR of 32 per cent. The number of players is expected to grow 2.5X over the next five years to reach 1.5 million by 2027,” the report stated. 

Justin Shriram Keeling, Founding General Partner at Lumikai shared, “Indians download more games than any other country on earth, and this is translating to a host of white spaces on the consumer demand side including a largely young, professional gamer category who are increasingly paying for in-app purchases, an untapped audience of female gamers, and strong interest in games with Indian cultural resonance.” 

Lumikai has, in the last two years, backed several gaming startups in India. These include Bombay Play (which offers global hypersocial, cross-platform games), Loco (a homegrown game-streaming platform), Elo Elo (a creator-led, social gaming and live streaming platform), Studio Sirah (a mid-core strategy gaming studio), etc. “It’s truly an exciting time to be building for India’s wide variety of gaming demographics,” Keeling added. 

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