In the year of 2020, online fantasy gaming has gained a strong foothold within the Indian entertainment Industry. Our country now has a projector user base of 628 million gamer's which gives boost to the gaming ecosystem within the Indian economy. This ecosystem contains of a variety of gamers of all ages, game designers, developers, investors and marketers all working together to come up with the latest cutting edge games. All this has made India to be the top contender among the top gaming markets amongst the emerging global economies. At present there 400 gaming startups in India with whooping number of 500 million smartphone users.
Statistics of Online Gaming in India
- According to a report released by boutique investment bank Maple Capital Advisors the online gaming industry in India is growing at a rate of CAGR of 22%.
- The reports also claim that the Industry is expected to grow 41% yearly due to the growth of digital infrastructure and rise in the quality of gaming content.
- The gaming Industry is set to be valued at $3, 750 million by the end of 2024.
- India’s online gaming industry has already attracted $350 million in investments from venture capital firms between the years 2014 to 2020.
- The report highlights that the three key segments of online gaming are Real Money Games (RMG), Mobile centric or casual games and E- sports such as Counter strike, DOTA 2.
- The E-sports federation of India reports that 264 million Indian gamers and the competition prize money is increasing annually.
Online fantasy sports gaming
When it comes to online fantasy sports gaming it gained a lot of popularity in India as another genre of online gaming, where sports fans can create their own team out of the real life players from the upcoming matches with specific conditions and environments. The fantasy sports gaming in the Indian market is expected to reach over $5 billion in the Equity Investors. Cricket by far is the most popular as 85% of users engage in this sport, while the other sports that Indians venture into are football, basketball and kabbadi. Online game companies have risen up to 275 in 2019 which is a huge increase considering there were only 25 startup companies in 2010.
Because of this new booming industry many job opportunities have opened up in a non-conventional sectors such as tech oriented careers and game development which king of new in India. From just a handful of companies until few years ago, there are an estimated 60 fantasy sports platforms in India at present. India also recently got its first Gaming Unicorn called Dream11 is known to be changing ways in the gaming Industry. Let us learn on how exactly the company is doing that.
Dream11 is a Mumbai based fantasy game startup which was founded in 2012 by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth is now backed by Tencent making its value $1.1 billion after its successful fundraiser from Steadview Capital. According to a report by the Indian federation of Sports gaming, Dream11 is currently occupies 90 percent of the domestic fantasy sports market. Dream11 has an overall user base of 51 million with about 15% of them being the paid players.
The CEO of the company, Harsh Jain says that the times are changing in the fantasy gaming industry as the competition is increasing and so is the higher cash rewards at stake. The company became a trend because of cricket game which coincided with the India Premium League in 2008 and became its sports partner until 2022. Now the company offers an array of sports such as Football, Carom, Pool, Kabbadi, Basketball, Badminton and Hockey for the gamer's to pick from. With the advent of 4G mobile services provided by Reliance Jio, fantasy gaming has become popular along with services in India.
IFSG says that two out of three sports fans in India are aware of fantasy gaming today and an estimated 100 million more will join by downloading any of these platforms or apps by 2020.The reason to the success of Dream11 is because it allows its users to create its own imaginary teams and earn cash based on selected players actual match performance. Every move made by the gamers gets them cash rewards, while the company also pockets 15 to 20 percent of the winnings. This Mumbai based startup is looking to double its user base to 100 million by 2020.
Mobile Premium League (MPL)
Mobile Premium League is a Bengaluru based startup and is the fastest growing fantasy sports platform which has also achieved #1 app in the casual section of the Google Play store India. MPL was founded in 2018 by Srinivas Kiran Garimella and Shubham Malhotra who are also the founders of Creo which was brought over by Hike in 2017. Mobile Premium League is funded by Sequoia making it the latest startup in India fantasy sports market.
The company is growing at the speed of light as it now has 10 million users in 7 to 8 months. The app based platform allows fans to compete in skill based sports and win the real rewards. Indian team captain Virat Kohli is its brand ambassador with a deal reportedly at Rs 12 crore. It is rumored that Indonesia Go-jek is looking to invest $30 million in MPL.
Fantasy Gaming Startups during a Global Pandemic
Due to the nationwide lock down, people who are staying at home are turning to gaming platforms to kill their boredom. These platforms are provided by these startup gaming companies in order to attract hundreds and thousands of new visitors in online traffic. Many land-based casinos have switched to online platforms and discounts and bundle offers are being promoted online by gaming companies and online gaming stores to encourage people to play video games.
According to Ranjana Adhikari the co-head of media, entertainment & gaming at Nishith Desai Associates, “We also saw a 24% increase in traffic for online gaming between February and March. India is a developing nation, but during lock down it has seen an acceleration of people moving to online in general and getting used to it. While wider regulation might still be a way off, the pandemic might have accelerated this process.’’
In view of these new trends the importance for self-regulation within this Industry cannot be emphasized enough especially when it comes to responsible gaming which is still a new concept in India than compared to other countries like US. Further regulation would help with pushing gaming companies to talk about gaming responsibly via information on identifying gaming addiction and how to manage it, implementing self-checks, timeouts and even limits upon their accounts.