Who is the Indian Gamer?
An average Indian online gamer is below the age of 24, introduced to online gaming through their friends, family, and peer group, engaged in gaming for stress relief and social interaction.
In 2020, India recorded about 365M online gamers and is expected to have 510M by 2022. This sector may have traditionally been dominated by men, however, female gamers are now getting equally inclined to invest in gaming as entertainment. While only ~35% of mobile gamers are female, female gamers have been a catalyst for the growth of this sector, since the number of additional female gamers each year is growing at a faster rate than male gamers. Moreover, nearly 1/3rd of gamers are over the age of 35, so we’ve come a long way from when playing video games was just a young boy’s hobby.
Around 85% of the gamers in India play on their mobiles, with three out of four enjoying mobile games at least twice a day and typically spending over an hour on their device each day, exceeding the average time spent on video services like Netflix viewership (around forty-five minutes). 2020 also stood as a record year for game streaming, with 100 billion watch-time hours, twice as many as the number of hours watched in 2018.
What do Indian gamers play?
While all gamers explore a variety of genres, male gamers are more skewed towards adrenaline-packed games featuring action/adventure, strategy, and racing/sports games. On the other hand, female gamers are more inclined towards mentally stimulating games such as puzzles/quizzes, and hyper casual games. Mentally stimulating games featuring puzzles and quizzes are also popular in the 35+ age group, followed by action/adventure and racing/sports games.
What motivates Indian gamers to play?
Download and Discovery Motivators
The top reasons for selecting and trying new games are:
- Friends, Family, and Peer Group: Since games are a means of social interaction, having friends and family on a game has been a popular download motivator.
- Popularity of the Game: Game ratings and influencer attention on games have played an integral role in trying new games.
- Game Demo/ Videos online: Most downloads take place through app distribution platforms, and so, demos and video trailers on these platforms have emerged as mediums of discovery of new games.
New and exciting games, especially with low internet consumption, would be a key motivator for non-gamers to initiate online gaming.
The top triggers for India inclining towards gaming as a means of entertainment have been:
- Social Interaction: Players who want to connect and bond with friends and family play multiplayer games that involve competition or collaboration.
- Entertainment: Players who want to kill boredom and pass time in this engaging and interactive form of entertainment play hyper casual games.
- Stress Relieving Escape: Player who seek distraction usually play games which involve role-playing, fantasy, alternate worlds, hidden objects, and quests, while players who want to relax, or calm down, play simple, repetitive, and slow-paced games.
- Progression: Players who take pride in their progress and achievements play games where there are challenges of incremental difficulty level, like solving puzzles, or excelling in speed, accuracy, and movement.
- Self-expression: Players that use games as a means to express their creativity and identity by making the game “their own” prefer games that allow personalization or customisation.
Approximately 70% of gamers play multiplayer games while 60% play single-player games.
High Data, Memory Consumption, and Negative Impact on Device Performance have traditionally been demotivators for gaming, however, this is expected to decrease given the emergence of cheap data and smartphones with gaming compatible features.
Payment Motivators and Demotivators
Gamers pay on high engagement and need the incentive of evident differentiators on the paid games as compared to freemium games.
Easily available free alternatives act as a barrier for gamers to pay.
Moreover, most casual gamers in India do not find paid games worth their value. While there is clear evidence that Indians pay for the right content, now more than ever there is opportunity for India first, high-quality games that are culturally resonant to entice spending.
Ways to Win over the Indian Gamer
- Mobile-First Experience: Since 85% of Indian gamers prefer to play on mobile, it is important to provide a mobile-first experience.
- Capture their Attention: Give importance to attractive logos and names, and use compelling themes, sound effects, transitions and animations, localized content, and background music. Indian gamers download games that are popular among their communities and liked by the influencers they follow so it’s important to create a sense of FOMO.
- Engaging Gameplay: Indian gamers prefer fun, adrenaline-inducing, challenging and competitive games which allow them a progression of achievements and the ability to share them with social connections.
Ways to Engage Female Gamers
Female gamers are a fast-growing market so it’s time for developers to think of more inclusive and engaging ways to attract a wider audience.
Some examples of this are:
- Diverse and inclusive teams of developers and designers that understand different perspectives and preferences.
- Games that appeal to women in terms of design, aesthetics, user experience — storylines, characters, and gameplay elements that female gamers can identify with.
- More women-centric esports leagues, inclusive gaming, and eSports communities, as female teams and leagues start competing in tournaments.
While it is true that there are more gamers now than ever before, a majority of the people that are not traditionally labeled as “gamers” are also playing mobile games.
Across the globe, nearly a third of mobile gamers are 45 or older. The stereotypical 16–24 age group represents a mere 14.2% of mobile gamers. Women play more and more often: their sessions last 25% longer, and 43% of women play more than 5x times a week. And they are also spending more. 4.5% of women spend in-game while 3.3% of men do.
It’s time to take another look at the gamer you are building for and how you can expand your audience using a motivation-led approach. Indian consumers are making purchase decisions faster than ever before, and gamers are increasingly becoming sophisticated. Understanding what makes your user download, play, and pay, is core to building entertaining, high-quality gaming experiences which can create value over the long term.
Note: This article does not intend to preclude identities that are outside the gender binary. Unfortunately, there is a lack of primary research conducted in the Indian context that could provide a more holistic view. Nonetheless, we at Lumikai strongly believe in creating a more inclusive and immersive experience for everyone. We look forward to the gaming industry becoming a healthy and positive place for all gamers alike.
Read More Here:
Understanding Mobile Gaming in India 2018, Kantar IMRB, MMA, and POKKT
Online gaming in India: Reaching a new pinnacle, KPMG in India, Google
Understanding the mobile gamer’s motivation to play and pay in India, Think with Google APAC
Play like a girl: Key ways to engage one of Asia’s fastest growing gaming audiences, Think with Google APAC
The Big Catch, Facebook Gaming