Everyone is into mobile gaming, and I am certainly one of them!

Mobile gaming has achieved escape velocity in India and is giving tough competition to other entertainment categories in India. A report by InMobi reveals some interesting findings.

Everyone’s gaming on mobile among us, and I am certainly one of them

I love playing games on my mobile. In fact, ever since I laid hands on my first ever Nokia handset, I have been hooked. Last year, this love for mobile gaming escalated and there are many reasons for this, the onset of the pandemic being one of the major ones. Infact, our office team was playing games such as Ludo and Drawsaurus after office hours, just to let off some steam. And just like me, most Indians can relate to it. Even if you do not get it or do not play games on your mobile, when you look around you can find many committed mobile gamers.

Nowadays, the love of mobile gaming in India is getting bigger and bigger, so much so that it can now be converted into a lucrative career option.

India is now home to one out of every 10 gamers across the globe and is the 5th largest mobile gaming market in the world. Interestingly, some estimates say that 44 per cent of India’s smartphone population will be playing games on their devices by 2022. So, next time when you encounter parents who do not get annoyed by the mobile gaming of their children, maybe they already have some future career plans for them along those lines.

The reason for this surge is as simple as playing a tic-tac-toe game on paper. The first reason being that people like to play, be it gully cricket or now mobile cricket, on their phones. In other words, mobile gaming is pervasive today due to easy access to affordable smartphones, the cheapest network data tariffs in the world and improving mobile internet speeds.

With this, let me share some more interesting data and statistics on mobile gaming in India which has been curated by InMobi, a mobile marketing and advertising platform in its report—”2021 Mobile gaming report.”

Ditch the old notions

Believe it or not but the world of gaming does not have a gender bias!!

And almost everyone is into mobile gaming nowadays.

The report tells us that although more men constitute the denizens of the gaming universe at about 57 per cent, women are not so far behind at 43 per cent.

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On the other hand, mobile gaming is not just a young urban man’s game or a Gen Z trend, but it is an equally favoured activity among men between the age group of 45 to 54.

The study also points out that Gen Z is more into casual, arcade and card games. While millennials play action, board and casual games; the Gen X choices are arcade, board and casual games.

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Game-on India

There are over 2.7 billion players across the world, and they are placed into various categories, as types of gamers are about as varied as the types of games themselves. Hence, InMobi found three overarching categories—the committed gamers, the regular gamers and the occasional gamers.

Interestingly, 80 per cent of Indians are committed gamers and play a mobile game every day. Maybe you are one of them!

Meanwhile, 11 per cent are regular gamers who play at least once a week while the rest come under the occasional gamer’s category. Further analysing these numbers by gender, the report found that more male gamers are committed towards mobile gaming with their numbers at 82 per cent while it is 77 per cent for women gamers.

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Today, mobile gaming is a source of respite for people. It helps in relaxation while providing entertainment, unlike console gaming, where competition and winning take priority. Aakash who is an engineering student accepts that he plays games on his mobile daily, “With hours of online classes, regular exams and coding practicing, playing mobile games keeps the pressure off, “he says. After the recent PubG ban, he is now into other action games such as Call of duty, battle arena games or hack and slash games.

With the rapid rise of multiplayers in app games, gaming has also become an avenue for consumers to connect with friends and family, engendering a sense of community among them.

‘Snacking’ on mobile gaming

The InMobi report states that a majority of Indians play mobile games in short spurts, almost like they are snacking on them throughout the day – in between meetings, chores, meals etc. According to the figures, only 14 per cent of gamers actually spent more than one hour playing mobile games.

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I also asked some women if they came under this category. Most of them play in short breaks, whenever they have time to relax, which varies from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. The report found that 40 per cent of gamers spent less than 10 minutes playing games.

The report also reveals that committed gamers spend substantially more time per session than other gamers, with over 84 per cent of players spending up to an hour on mobile gaming in a single sitting.

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The race for space

Indian gamers love exploring new games, especially committed gamers who play every day. 14 per cent of Indian gamers install over seven games in a week, reveal the report findings. While 62 per cent of gamers install less than 3 games.

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Nonetheless, most Indian gamers have an average of 3 games installed on their phones. Despite the availability of improved storage space on smartphones today, Indians also have more apps to choose from. Due to increasing app sizes, Indian gamers have to constantly choose between apps they can keep on their smartphones resulting in a high app churn. 

How gamers discover games 

It was found during the study that gamers do have a process that they employ to choose games, when it comes to discovering new ones. The study reveals that for most of them, especially for the committed gamers, it is usually about recommendations on the app store or from other gaming apps.  

Just to clarify this fact, I asked an ex-colleague of mine if this was his process too and he answered in the affirmative.  

The regular gamers meanwhile are far more likely to rely on in-app advertising for their next download suggestion. Occasional gamers on the other hand prefer to rely on word of mouth when compared to other groups as they are mostly interested in playing those games that already enjoy a certain amount of popularity.  

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It is here to stay

While there are many fads that emerge and go down quickly like many social media trends, experts truly feel that the mobile gaming market will continue to remain strong in India. Last year, with the outbreak of the pandemic there was a significant shift towards increased mobile usage, which impacted mobile gaming positively. At the same time, experimenting with games and the number of app downloads and games from the app stores also recorded a surge.

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In the study, it was noticed that there was an increase in the number of gamers when compared to the post pandemic and post lockdown periods. So far, Indians have retained their habits of mobile gaming even as late as January of 2021. According to the figures, there has been a 1.5X increase in the unique user count from February to December in the year 2020.

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Other insights that the report offers are that mobile games showcase ads to give daily rewards, in-app purchases or just to capitalize on them. Even then gamers clearly prefer to watch these ads over actually paying money when looking to progress in a game or in exchange for a benefit. Ad recall is also very high amongst Indian gamers, especially if the ads are engaging and about a topic that interests them.

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Where I stand

Mobile gaming has achieved escape velocity in India while competing with other popular entertainment categories such as short-form video, streaming services and social networks for user attention. While going through this study and analysing the data about Indian mobile gamers, we realize that the mobile gaming market has its own dedicated audience. And I am certainly one of them, because I do spend quite a bit of my time on mobile games.

However, the question persists, where do I stand on this?

After thoroughly correlating myself and my gaming habits with the findings of this study, here is what I found.

I am among those 77 per cent of women gamers in India who are highly committed towards mobile gaming!

Even though I love playing games, I do not download games on a weekly basis, rather I stick to one game. I have currently passed more than 1000 levels of a game and intend to play it further. Also, I delete those games which I feel are not to my liking. While choosing games I follow the same pattern as mentioned in the study apropos the committed gamers.

I also watch in-app ads just to get extra credits, and why do I play mobile games? Just for some fun and relaxation. With this, let me also know why you play games on your mobile.