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Is India’s gaming industry set to take off and create jobs for Gen-Z?

The gaming industry- the new big bet?

Worried Indian parents across all segments have typically asked their children to stay off video games—but that was until the Covid 19 pandemic broke out two years ago. It was considered nothing less than a taboo then. But recently when the Karnataka High Court reversed amendments to the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021 aimed at prohibiting and criminalizing participation in online games, it came as a major relief to the country’s $930 million gaming industry.

All India Gaming Federation’s (AIGF) chief executive Roland Landers said that the Karnataka High Court’s decision was in the right direction. “We look forward to working with the government and stakeholders to develop a clear regulatory framework – that will enable legitimate gaming companies to operate in the state with safeguards, while eradicating illegal gambling apps from the state," he said.

Also read: China gaming market posts 6.4% growth in 2021

The pandemic, leading to several lockdowns and restrictions has changed the landscape of the gaming industry in India, which is one of the leaders in the global market today. India’s internet penetration is estimated at 30 per cent.

The gaming industry is now being seen as an important pillar of the economy. This upcoming sector could create lakhs of jobs in the country. Several gaming startup firms are expected to firm up hiring plans to support growth in the next few years.

India has over 560 million internet users, making it the second-largest internet consumer.

In India, mobile phone users form an overwhelming 85 per cent of the industry, followed by PC users at 11 per cent and tablet users at just 4 per cent.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) said that mobile is the primary vehicle for the gaming market in India, thanks to access to affordable smartphones growing at 15 per cent year-on-year for the past five years. Besides, high-speed 4G internet penetration supported by the world’s lowest data tariffs have contributed handsomely.

Invest India put out a survey by an AdTech firm which revealed that nearly 45 per cent of India’s mobile users started playing games on their smartphones during the pandemic.

Small wonder that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Union Budget this year, announced setting up of a new task force that will look at ways to build domestic capacity and also to serve the global demand in Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic (AVGC) sector.

“It is uplifting to see that the Union Budget has thought about a portion of the long-forthcoming ideas for the animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) sector while taking note of the solid potential this industry holds for employment generation just as taking ‘Make in India’ game titles worldwide,” Sai Srinivas, co-founder and CEO, Mobile Premium League said.    

A KPMG report said that the number of online gamers in India grew from about 250 million gamers in 2018 to about 400 million by the mid of 2020. Growing steadily for the last five years, it is expected to treble in value and reach $3.9 billion by 2025.

At present, there are more than 400 gaming companies in India that include Infosys Limited, Hyperlink InfoSystem, Fgfactory, Zensar Technologies among others.

Also read: Budget 2022: RBI to launch digital currency

The surge in gaming comes from a growing need for virtual entertainment with friends, family and peer groups, coupled with the rise in influencers encouraging Indians to play more games, the WEF noted.

Is it therefore time to shed inhibitions and seize the opportunities much ahead of the curve?