“Ye PUBG wala hai kya?” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked a mother who raised concerns about her son being too involved into online games during the “Pariksha Pe Charcha 2.0” event in New Delhi earlier this year.
The ground reality is that online, multi-player games have taken over the millennials big time in India, sending the earlier individual mobile games like Candy Crush and Temple Run almost into oblivion.
Youngsters in smaller towns and cities can now be seen playing two such battlefield online games – PlayersUnknown Battleground (PUBG) and Fortnite – as smartphone penetration increases in leap and bound (there are nearly 430 million smartphone users in India now).
These “survival of the fittest” games where mobile users fight each other in real-time using virtual warfare techniques, have eclipsed single-player mobile games, say industry experts.
Other online games are also getting popular.
According to a report by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and Kantar IMRB in association with POKKT, a smartphone advertising platform for mobile games, the mobile gaming industry in India is projected to reach $943 million in 2022 driven by rising smartphone use and growing mobile app market.
“We also have post-millennials who are heavy on gaming and smartphone brands are responding to this by pushing devices with greater processing power than before, as a result of which, games like PUBG and Fortnite are here to stay,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR said.
According to the report, three out of four Indian gamers play mobile games at least twice a day, for an average of over 60 minutes, each day.
Payments for these games and other online games can be done through multiple methods.
Mobile gaming is also prevalent in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, with similar amounts of time spent by the users, the report added.
According to Hemant Mehta, Managing Director, Kantar IMRB and Chief Strategy Officer, Kantar South Asia, the “consumers have taken to mobile gaming in a big way, yet it still remains a relatively untapped advertising channel in India”.
Since single-player mobile games were rendered monotonous at some point, players did not get aggressively hooked on to them as compared to the adrenaline-pumping, multi-player online games.
The New-Age games are regularly updated with newer features, allowing the gamers to experiment with creating their own avatars, styling their own looks, choosing their own weapons, reading maps, making strategies and more.
In a quest to experiment with newer career opportunities, young adults are also exploring gaming at a professional level today.
“With the proliferation of smartphones, gaming as a concept has picked up in India and the market is also ready now for PC gaming,” Vickram Bedi, Senior Director-Personal Systems, HP Inc India, said.
Micro-blogging site Twitter recently revealed that it recorded one billion tweets on games with role-playing mobile game “Fate/Grand Order” topping the charts, closely followed by Fortnite and PUBG.
With the kind of loyalty towards games in terms of increased user-base, reach and time invested that has been noted in recent years, it would not be wrong to say that from just being a mode of recreation, group mobile gaming has risen to become a new dimension of existence for the millennials in India, say experts.