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India’s gaming industry has grown at an unprecedented speed in the last five years, owing to an increasing penetration of smartphones, high-speed low-priced internet data services, and the ease of access to games. Newer technologies like extended reality (AR, VR and MR), rise of streaming videos, and robust cloud ecosystems have been the harbinger of innovation across new-age gameplay. According to market reports, India currently houses more than 1,100 gaming companies, and around 450 million online gamers, making it the second largest market after China.
Technology innovations today are making gaming almost life-like, by building immersive game experiences, while big data and analytics is accelerating insights for identifying strategies for user acquisition, offering personalized gameplay, and building games suitable for a large and ever expanding demographic.
As the gaming industry evolves from traditional consoles or computer-based games to cloud-hosted game ecosystems and the metaverse, some key emerging trends are subscription models, emergence of play-to-earn digital economies (crypto and NFTs), experiencing gaming in the metaverse, democratization of ownership of in-game assets, rise of social and casual gaming, mainstreaming of esports, amongst others.
The emergence of Web3 has changed how traditional gaming functions. From pure-play entertainment and engagement for gamers, the narrative today has shifted to value-added experiences for gamers, play-to-earn games, and decentralization of asset ownership.
Technologies like blockchain offer ownership of in-game assets and tangibility like never before. It also lets third-party developers customize gameplay and experience through new features to host a game, without altering it. This has helped creative expansion for game developers and built communities through decentralized ownership, while opening up additional revenue streams. Options like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), built on the back of blockchain technology are enabling ownership of in-game assets with security and transparency.
The advent of blockchain technology has also facilitated a radical change in gaming’s business model, from pay-to-play to play-to-earn. This has facilitated open markets where gamers can earn, own and trade their assets, an outcome which was not possible earlier. This allows gamers to participate in buying or trading crypto assets, which can then be exchanged for real world money, leading to its huge popularity.
The expansion of social and casual gaming accelerated during the COVID-19 lockdowns and has sustained its momentum ever since. Social gaming on cloud-based game ecosystems have enabled multiplayer games that let gamers connect with others like them to share moments, game wins and journeys online. Games have become another avenue for like-minded people to hang out virtually. The ability to build social connections has led to increasing popularity of multiple genres of games, especially for younger gamers. This in turn has increased microtransactions, where gamers undertake in-game purchases to express their personalities and connect with others in the virtual world.
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In-game transactions have circled around buying new lives, better paid gameplay, buying in-game assets or ad-free subscriptions to a game. In the metaverse, transactions will translate into buying new avatars, virtual assets and even investing in real estate in a digital world. According to a KPMG report, the Indian real money gaming segment including online fantasy sports segments has seen strong traction in the recent years due to the preference of Indian gamers to be able to monetize their skills.
According to market research, the stereotype of young men making up the majority of gamers is not true anymore. Casual and hyper-casual formats are drawing an increasing number of women to games and some startups are now designing games targeted at women gamers. Industry reports also indicate that women are more likely than men to make in-app purchases, which result in higher game transactions and revenues for game companies.
According to industry reports, 95 percent of women engage with gaming through their smartphones. Women are also increasingly participating in e-sports, content creation for games and as game developers. This has led to many companies making more diverse and inclusive gameplays and tap into what women in gaming are looking for, further driving the growth of the Indian games industry.
To highlight this and other gaming trends in the industry, Amazon Web Services (AWS), in partnership with YourStory and India Game Developer Conference (IGDC) is hosting the AWS GameTech Forum on 21st September 2022 to bring together early-stage, mid-stage and late-stage startups, as well as large businesses in gaming. Founders, CXOs, investors, developers, designers, engineers, and different stakeholders of the games ecosystem will share ideas, innovations, technology breakthroughs, and the latest trends in the world of gaming.
The welcome note of the event will be addressed by Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory, followed by panel discussions of games Founders, CXOs and investors. AWS Customers and GameTech Specialists will also demonstrate how to build feature-rich use cases to engage players and grow your Games.
On 22nd September and 23rd September, in-person hands-on workshops will be hosted in Bangalore and Gurgaon respectively on topics like Machine Learning for designing Game Levels, Game Security and broadcasting live gameplay.
For all entrepreneurs, technologists, designers, and experts from the games sector, this is your chance to get insights from and be inspired by the journeys of successful games studios and platforms and understand how the latest innovations in technology will power and shape the future of gaming in India.