God of War: Ragnarok promotion by Sony India costs $60k; Wraps Subway Train

The scene with Indian Gaming Industry in India in a native sense has always been downtrodden. This is not a harsh criticism, but more of a leading fact. One can still remember when the fore frontiers of Indian Game developers were still making Gully Cricket (street cricket) at a time when GTA V was making rounds in the west.

It has been no brainer that India has been slightly late to the gaming scenario, though on the optimistic side better late than never.

God of War: Ragnarok Key Art
Image Courtesy of PlayStation

But those days are probably more than gone and for good reasons. While a non-existence gaming presence is no longer the matter, an underdeveloped platform may be hitting the gamers where it hurts.

The gaming industry in India is rising like a volcanic eruption

gaming industry in india
Indian Gaming Expo 2017, via gaming central

But for the developers, the scene is more optimistic. Shrouded in a rising interest of global gaming corporates looking to make a big buck in the growing nation of India, we witness a rising number of gaming expos, exhibitions, and conferences. With an Indian Game Developers conference scheduling their latest endeavor in Hyderabad on November 3.

  • Lumikai, a gaming-focused VC fund lately estimated that India’s gaming industry should hit a whopping $7 billion by 2026. It was estimated at $2.2 billion in 2021. That rise is about more than 3x within a period of five years.

Sony advertises God of War Ragnarok PS5 in Mumbai Subway

Sony marketing in India GOW Ragnarok
VIA PlayStation 5 (PS5) India Network Facebook group

The rising scene of investors’ interest in India can be seen in Sony’s marketing advertising campaign for God of War Ragnarok. A Subway (called Metro in India) line in Mumbai was seen shrouded in Sony PS5 God Of War ads.

The Ghatkopar – Versova line in Mumbai was shrouded in Sony’s PS5 advertising wrap. Usually, one such wrap costs around 3 million, with further Metro interior branding costing around 1 million. The entire endeavor must have cost Sony some 5 million INR, which translates to about 60,000 USD.

Sony branding in India
VIA PlayStation 5 (PS5) India Network Facebook group

The frontiers of the gaming industry in India are still the enthusiastic gamers

sony marketing in india
via Economictimes.indiatimes.com

Why this matter is to be understood jointly with the current scenario of the gaming industry in India, which is, truth be told, led by the gamers but picked and received by developers. From a non-existence presence in 1990 to being one of the top markets for foreign investors in the Gaming industry. India has shown a gradual increase in the gaming industry.

  • A study conducted by KMPG showed that the number of native game development companies in India currently stands around 275, which was 25 in 2010.
  • The same study also showed that the online gaming market stood at around $780 million and an estimated 300 million gamers. This was a whopping 41% increase from the statistic of the previous year.
Indian Gaming Industry Sony Marketing
The interior branding of Sony in Mumbai Metro, courtesy of PlayStation 5 (PS5) India Network Facebook group

Paavan Nanda who is the co-founder of WinZo, a social gaming and interactive platform with over 85 million userbases, says the following – “We believe that India will boast of as many as 10 unicorns and 5 decacorns from the gaming ecosystem in the next 5 years alone.”

The gamers suffer still from an underdeveloped platform

indian gaming industry
Indian Gaming Expo 2018
  • The rising gaming scene in India seems hopeful but is still difficult for most players. This happens because Indian gaming enthusiasts are not forbidden from getting similar rigs to their western allies.
  • Yet when the game itself has a downtrodden platform, it becomes a hassle. The forefront of the Indian “gaming” community is still PUBG Mobile. The rush of computer and console gamers is still recent.

Common Availability to smartphones still favors phone gaming over console or PC gaming

God Of War Ragnarok in India
VIA PlayStation 5 (PS5) India Network Facebook group
  • The majority of the gaming population still comes from the mobile segment. In comparison to a PS5, Xbox Series, or full-throttle gaming rig, a phone is more easily available to the mid-class Indian gamer.
  • As such the first to bloom in India was a line of mobile phone-based games. Beginning with Clash of Clans and going till PUBG Mobile. Although Valorant and Apex Legends currently are at an all-time high popularity.

Ping and server problems equate to gamers’ greatest nightmare against the competition

  • Esports gamers also feel pressed by ping problems. Anyone wanting to go pro in India has to drift into Singapore servers with some 80 pings while Korean players with 30 ping can sweep their ass up the floor.
  • If anyone wants to go pro in India, he has to play the Singapore server with at least 80 pings to even try to have that dream. When Riot Games promised 128-tick servers in Valorant In 2020, it saw a sweeping exodus of players from CS-GO.

Yet games like DOTA 2 or League of Legends are still a forlorn hope for many. Pile this up with the ever-pressuring social stigma where parents think gaming is still a devastating blow to their children’s lives and an ever-over-priced hardware pricing.

What will be foreign gaming investors’ greatest obstacle in India?

PS5 in India

India already homes office of large corporate giants like Xbox and Microsoft. The rising number of Esports and other gamers has definitely attracted the wests’ interest. But perhaps the greatest challenge for foreign investors will still be India’s state regulations.

In May this year, the Group of Ministers unanimously decided to increase taxes on online gaming. A GST (Goods and Service Tax) of 28% was to be applicable on games of chance. The skill gaming industry also reportedly pays 18% taxes on gross gaming revenue or GGR (the fee charged by online gaming operators).

CEO of All India Gaming Federation said the following “As per news reports, the discussion is to charge GST on the entire amount which a player pays for a game, and not GGR or platform fee.”

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