Updated March 5th, 2024 at 15:15 IST

Online gamers likely to increase from 455 million in 2023 to 491 million by 2024: Report

The sector saw robust growth at 22 per cent, surpassing film entertainment and signaling a positive trajectory for the industry.

Reported by: Business Desk
Tencent, NetEase plunge after China's decision to curb gaming spend | Image:Unsplash
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Online gaming trends: In 2023, the online gaming landscape in India continued its impressive surge, securing its position as the fourth-largest segment within the Media and Entertainment (M&E) sector. Boasting a staggering 455 million gamers, India claimed the second-highest gaming user base globally, trailing only behind China. The sector saw robust growth at 22 per cent, surpassing film entertainment and signaling a positive trajectory for the industry.

Dynamic Growth

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The online gaming sector in India expanded by 22 per cent in 2023, establishing itself as the fourth-largest entity in the M&E sector. With 455 million users, India emerged as the global leader in mobile game downloads. The number of online gamers in India rose by 8 per cent in 2023.  Online gamers are expected to increase from 455 million in 2023 to 491 million by 2024.

Financial Momentum

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Monetisation in the online gaming segment reached new heights, as 90 million gamers reportedly paid for online games in 2023. Transaction-based game revenues witnessed 21 per cent increase, totaling Rs 18,200 crore. Post the GST rule change in October 2023, major gaming companies weathered the impact, while smaller entities faced challenges.

Genre Trends

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Hyper-casual games dominated app store downloads, showcasing their popularity.
Shooting games retained their status as favourites, contributing to 24 per cent of in-app purchase revenues, closely followed by strategy games. Casual gaming witnessed 24 per cent growth throughout the year.

Evolving Gaming Environment

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India's engagement with online games expanded beyond dedicated gaming apps to include media, social, and e-commerce platforms. The introduction of a 28 per cent GST for online gaming players since October 2023 had varying impacts on both major and minor gaming companies. E-sports titles nearly doubled to 19 in 2023, attracting 1.8 million Indian participants across 20 platforms. Game streamers observed a substantial 20-25 per cent surge in viewership, particularly in Tier-II cities.

Future Projections

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The online gaming sector is poised to continue its impressive growth, with a projected 21 per cent CAGR, reaching Rs 38,800 crore by 2026. In-app purchases are anticipated to be the fastest-growing segment, forecasting a remarkable 27 per cent CAGR. Fantasy sports (23 per cent) and rummy/poker (19 per cent) will also contribute significantly. The impending rollout of 5G technology is expected to enhance the overall online gaming experience.

Younger gamers displayed a preference for party, simulation, and shooter-based games. While the gaming community boasted 100 million daily active users, the potential for advertising opportunities remained, albeit with relatively low yields.
The surge of online gaming in India not only reflects its economic impact but also underscores its cultural significance. With a burgeoning user base, innovative monetization strategies, and a thriving esports ecosystem, the future of online gaming in India appears promising and full of dynamic possibilities.

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Published March 5th, 2024 at 15:15 IST