Jumping two spots up from 2015, India became the fifth biggest gaming market globally in 2016, thanks to a surge in sales of low-cost but powerful smartphones. According to App Annie, an analytics firm that tracks data on mobile apps, the total game revenue in India – from local and foreign publishers – is estimated to reach as high as US$1.1 billion by 2020.
The share of downloads for gaming apps was roughly 35 percent of total worldwide downloads. Mobile gaming has become so popular that it has dismantled PCs and Macs as preferred gaming tools. Spending on mobile games is almost 25 percent higher than that on computers.
Of the total spending on gaming apps, 60 percent came from the Asia-Pacific region. Its share of game spending on iOS App Store and Google Play increased mostly due to growth in China on iOS, and in Japan on both app stores.
The Indian gaming market is also rapidly growing. Between Q2 2014 and Q2 2016, game downloads in India more than doubled, with Google Play generating 13 times more downloads compared to iOS. The overall amount of time Indian users spend on mobile games grew sharply in 2016.
Google Play is the dominant platform for mobile gamers globally also. Games made up a larger share of Google Play’s consumer spending compared to iOS. However, in terms of amount spent on games, consumers spent more on iOS than Google Play.
The global market for mobile gaming surged on the back of Nintendo’s Pokemon Go and Sony’s Mario game apps. Both the games marked a shift for traditional gaming console makers – Nintendo and Sony – to mobile platform.
And they did great! All five of the top grossing games on handheld game consoles were part of either the Mario or Pokémon franchises. In fact, consumer spending on Pokemon Go topped US$1 billion so far in 2017.
In India, however, the mix of games looks a bit different. Popular game titles by foreign publishers – Candy Crush Saga, Subway Surfers, and Temple Run – monopolized the top ranks by downloads in Q2 of 2016.
The strong performance of global publishers has not completely dampened opportunities for Indian publishers to break into the top download charts. One example of a successful locally published game is Train Simulator, which reached fourth in the ranks. The game was released in March 2016.
With the demand for games in India on an upward curve, there will be plenty of opportunities for domestic game publishers to play alongside their foreign counterparts, invest, and acquire new users.
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