Mobile gaming on the rise, driven by homebound consumers: CMR


Mobile gaming in India is on the upswing, driven by consumers staying at home amidst the pandemic-induced lockdown. As per a new CMR Report, The Next Gen Mobile Consumer,  mobile gaming has increased among three in every five serious gamers, with four hours being average duration of increase since the lockdown began in India. Interestingly, in line with the increased time spent on mobile gaming, the study points out the shift from freemium to paid gaming apps. Interestingly, 15% of the gamers switched to paid mobile gaming apps during lockdown. Across the board, three in every five gamers believe that mobile gaming enabled them in overcoming social isolation during the lockdown period.

According to Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, “The growth of mobile gaming led by powerful smartphones, across price-points, and backed by reliable internet, is driving mobile gaming in India. Mobile gaming in India is driven by an array of gamer personas, ranging from the serious to the hyper-casual gamers. They differ from each other in terms of the time spent, the genres played, the places played at, and most importantly, their outlook to mobile gaming.”

As per the CMR study, Indians tend to play mobile games based on family and friend recommendations. On an average, Indians have seven games installed on their smartphones. Of these, there are atleast four games that they play regularly. Indians mostly play action / adventure games followed by first-person shooter game. ‘Call of Duty Mobile’ and ‘Garena Free Fire’ are popular first-person shooter games.


While COVID-19 has propelled the use of mobile as a way to work, learn and communicate, it is also providing consumers with some much-needed interactive and imaginative entertainment. Casual gamers indicated playing for ‘fun’ (47%), whereas serious gamers sought to ‘relieve stress’ (40%).

According to Amit Sharma, Analyst- Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, “Among mobile gamers, the top three pain points include phone heating, fast battery discharge and slow network. Going forward, mobile gamers expect more from their smartphones: more RAM, better battery life, increased storage and powerful SoCs.”

“Whether it be a serious, casual or a hyper- casual gamer, the key pre-requisite for today’s gamer is the need for a great mobile gaming experience. And interestingly, today’s consumers are well-aware that the Gaming SoC enables and enriches the overall experience,” added Prabhu.

Qualcomm (65%) and MediaTek (61%) are the top two brands that Indian gamers are aware of. However, it is interesting to note that more serious gamers show preference for MediaTek (68%) over Qualcomm (66%).

Here are the key takeaways from the report:

  • Indians spend around 7 hours in a week. The duration of playing has increased among majority (53%) of mobile gamers since the nationwide lockdown began early this year.
  • Indians play mobile games mostly during evenings (30%) and late nights (23%). While men play mostly in the evening (33%), women play mostly  in the late nights (28%).
  • Indians mostly play action / adventure (71%) and first-persons shooter (63%) games on their smartphone. However, among women, most popular type of the game is puzzles (65%) followed by multi-player gamers (56%).
  • Average number of games in the phone is 7 out of which 4 games are regularly played. Females play 3 games on a regular basis.
  • Six out of ten serious gamers tend to purchase gaming apps, while others tend to use freemium apps. Among females, four in every nine users purchase gaming app.
  • Use of paid gaming apps increased by a massive 15% during lockdown, while freemium gaming apps increased by 8%.
  • Serious gamers drove new paid as well as freemium gaming app installations during lockdown.
  • 59% of serious gamers, and 37% of casual gamers participate in competitive gaming contests.

The “The Next-Gen Indian Mobile Gamer: A Consumer Survey Report” is based on an extensive survey conducted across eight cities of India, namely New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. The study covered 1124 mobile gamers in the age groups of 16 to 35.

For results based on a randomly chosen sample of this size, there is 95% confidence that the results have a statistical precision of plus or minus 3% of what they would be if the entire population had been surveyed.

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