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The emergence of gaming as a global phenomenon

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Once upon a time gaming meant being in physical proximity with each other and playing while talking, laughing, and giggling! We have come a long way from the time when board games such as ludo, carom, etc. were played physically. It had a human touch and involved face-to-face interaction. However, the gaming landscape has evolved over the years. In fact, it has completely upturned from what it was a year ago!

The global pandemic pushed us to quarantine and practice social distancing norms. While it disrupted various industries, COVID-19 emerged as a blessing in disguise for a few sectors and the gaming market is one such segment. It expedited the growth of the sector and as a result, online gaming has been gaining prominence ever since at the global level. Owing to the coronavirus and the pandemic-induced digital revolution, online gaming is the new fad and is emerging to be a global phenomenon.

As per Modor Intelligence research, the global gaming market was valued at $173 billion in 2020. It is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.64% and will hit the $314.40 billion mark by 2026. According to Statista, the market generated revenue of approximately $21.1 billion. These statistics depict that the market was at its prime last year and is growing exponentially.

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Passé are the days when the meager mention of the word ‘gamer’ used to evoke flashes of a teenage boy locked in a dark room hooked onto his screen. With the growing market and the surge in mobile gaming, gaming is now accessible and available to all. It has turned into a global trend and even the definition of the term ‘gamer’ is changing. In the present times, users of all age groups play online games across platforms and mediums.

With the growing smartphone penetration and easy accessibility of data at affordable pricing, gaming has taken the mobile route. Online games are now accessible anytime, anywhere surpassing all geographical barriers and differences in time zones due to mobile gaming. This has turned out to be beneficial not only for the gamers but for the developers as well since they can expand their reach and tap markets across the globe. With robust tech infrastructure in place, cross-platform multiplayer gaming is also possible where gamers separated by greater distances can play together.

Mr. Stewart Neal, Studio Director, Sumo India, highlights this very trend and shares his thoughts. The gaming sector has had remarkable growth so far. It has successfully faced all odds and has witnessed various trends as well. While it has a robust presence in developed countries, the gaming sector is presently growing at a significant pace in the Indian market now. It is just at the cusp of transformation and will progress in the times to come. The developers nowadays are focusing on bringing about innovations, expanding their product portfolio along with releasing new games in multiple genres though mainly for mobile phones however with the increasing per capita income, growing usage of smartphones coupled with rising demand for console and cloud penetration, the gaming market shows great potential.

Adding to it he says, In India, we literally skipped a generation and immediately jumped to mobile gaming. However, console gaming that was earlier untapped, is gradually marking its presence in the country. While it is still in its nascent stages; the developers are keen to explore this area as well. Overall, it’s amazing to see how gaming has turned global and is successfully connecting players across platforms, mediums, and geographies. “Presently, as per Statisa, there are an estimated 1 billion gamers in the online space. Its study also points out that developed countries such as China, South Korea, and Japan are reportedly having the biggest online gaming reach amongst their population at the international level. It also states that India recorded about 365 million online gamers last year and this figure is projected to reach 510 million by the end of 2022”.

Aakash Taneja, Product Head, GMNG, explains the difference in the gaming markets in developed and developing countries. Adding to it, he also believes there are three major factors that have led to gaming becoming a global phenomenon. He says, “Gaming has become inevitable just like social media. The market in the developed countries boomed since they had access to fast and cheap internet, easy availability of immersive mobile games, and cheaper smartphones. The developing countries have accessibility to these factors in the present times and this is pushing the segment’s growth. The second important reason is leveraging the opportunity that the market offers. It goes without saying that game developers usually evolve in countries where there are gamers. Hence with the rise in the count of game developers, the trend of culturally diverse games with different communities accepting new ideas and concepts will also witness a surge thus completing a full circle. This implies that games from developing countries will start reaching and connecting with users from developed countries as well thereby giving gaming the global attribute.”

He adds, “The third factor is grabbing the right opportunity. Countries offering culture-driven games have received positive response from the market. In fact, in recent times, real money games are also gaining popularity. This innovation of introducing the era of the real money gaming allows both operators and users to benefit from monetization. Hence, all the instances depict that cashing on the relevant opportunities at the right timing will help garner benefits.”

While earlier gaming was considered as the primary source of entertainment, over the period of time, it has turned out to be an outlet for many to escape to the virtual world as well as connect with players across the globe whilst disconnecting from the physical world. With its socially engaging and connective traits, it is adopting the same path as of social media and is going international. As a result, gaming has transformed into communities where players log in not only to play but to interact and connect socially.

Keeping the gamer preferences and the industry dynamics into purview, the developers are leaving no stone unturned to offer high-end and seamless gaming experiences to the players and connect them across borders. Needless to say, the gaming sector is emerging as a global phenomenon and seems to have a promising future!

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