The gaming industry saw a massive spike in players this year because of the global pandemic, and games are becoming just as important as TV, film, and music to people globally. In a report submitted by YouGov, data from 24 international markets indicate that a majority of Indians play games on PCs, consoles, or mobile phones. India is tied with the USA at 71% and is well higher than countries like Malaysia, Germany, China, the UK, Spain among other countries.
One of the most important factors driving India’s huge market share in gaming is the mobile phone industry. Most Indians play on their smartphones in the South and South-East Asian region according to the report. In India, 67% of gamers play on mobile phones and just 12% of the Indian audience plays on consoles. Thailand and other SEA countries have similar figures, while a large number of European countries are driven by console gaming. In most countries, PC gamers outnumber mobile gamers but that is not the case in the Indian subcontinent. This can be attributed to the fact that mobile data is far more accessible due to its low cost compared to other countries. As of last year, India boasted of the world’s cheapest mobile data plans.
In terms of consumption, most Indian gamers play anything between 1 and 10 hours a week. 65% of the Indian respondents in the report fall under that category. Only 3% of gamers play more than 25 hours a week. Most of the content viewed by the gaming community in India is on YouTube Gaming. This is a very interesting number because this is not just a trend in India but in 11 out of 20 countries that were part of the study. YouTube has been successful with its platform in the SEA region as well as the Middle-East. Streaming engagement is highest on YouTube Gaming, with 49% engagement on the platform compared to just 12% on Twitch and Facebook each.
Despite the popularity of video games, esports is not growing as quickly in India. Only 31% of the Indian audience is familiar with esports compared to over 50% in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. While 31% of respondents were familiar with esports, only 22% of Indians engaged in viewing or playing esports.