After destroying the Entrepreneurial culture of the country because it posed a challenge to his authority, Chinese madman President Xi Jinping is coming after the e-gaming industry. The Jinping ‘communist’ regime, describing the video games as ‘spiritual opium’ has imposed a crackdown on the industry by restricting anyone under 18 years old to gaming only three hours a week, or one hour per day at 8 PM on Fridays through Sundays, that is, the weeknights.
This presents a golden opportunity for a country like India where the gaming sector is on the cusp of a big boom. All major gaming companies are expected to divert their portfolio towards countries that provide a better return on investment and without much government intervention and there is no better option than India where even the government is welcoming the gaming revolution with open arms.
Gaming – a billion-dollar baby already in India
According to a market research group, Newzoo, currently, China is the world’s biggest video gaming market with an estimated 720 million gamers that generated revenues worth $44bn in the year 2020.
Meanwhile, the Indian gaming sector, taking baby steps reached $1.027 billion in 2020, a growth of approximate 17.3 percent from $543 million in 2016. While India is currently the fourth largest online gaming market globally, it sure has the legs to overtake everyone, especially after Xi Jinping’s brain fade.
Xi Jinping and his dictatorial tendencies
Xi Jinping and his incessant urge to impose his authority on the country has already led to the crashing of the entrepreneurial setup of the country with businessmen afraid of scaling new heights as it would make the madmen cross. Alibaba founder Jack Ma found it the hard way when the IPO of one of his subsidiary companies was tanked by CCP. Ma was allegedly kidnapped and kept in captivity for months before he re-emerged and uncharacteristically started singing songs of praise for CCP and Jinping.
Tencent – one of the gaming behemoths on the planet looks to take its major chunk of business outside, according to an Al-Jazeera report. Tencent Holdings and NetEase were summoned by the CCP, earlier this month and given a brief regarding the new restrictive laws. The online backlash among teens has been strong, with comments on social media network Weibo noting how unfair the policy is and questioning how teens will be able to “relax” now, and even whether it will affect their creativity.
Half a billion population gaming market
As for India, online gamers in India are estimated to grow from 360 million in 2020 to 510 million in 2022. Mobile gaming takes the largest chunk of the gaming market thanks to access to affordable smartphones growing at 15 percent year-on-year for the past five years in India. Moreover, the high internet penetration rate and low cost of the internet, courtesy Jio, has played a major role in driving the online gaming sector in India.
According to news reports, the first nine months of 2020 saw India rise to the number one spot in mobile game downloads worldwide, clocking 7.3 billion installs and raking in a 17 percent market share of the installs volume. The coronavirus pandemic has further drifted the populace from televisions to the screens of their mobile phone, laptops, tablets and PCs for gaming. The casual gaming market represents 14.87 percent of the total Indian gaming market.
There’s an unquenchable thirst amongst the youth especially to play games and even make a living out of it. Popular influencers like Carry Minati and MortaL run their own gaming channels and rake in a good bountiful of moolah. Live events, streaming, apps, advertising, merchandise sales and media rights are a few of the avenues through which the gaming industry churns up its revenue and with no dearth of population, gaming remains an untapped gold mine here in India.
Fantasy gaming sector
And it is not only gaming, but the related entities also such as fantasy sports have become the new fad in the younger as well as the boomer generation. According to Invest India website, at the end of 2019, there were over 90 million fantasy sports users in India. Myriad fantasy apps and platforms have emerged in the last couple of years that has seen the segment competition heat up.
The government’s planning think tank, Niti Aayog has already published its first draft guidelines proposed for the conduct and regulation of fantasy sports and noted that the segment could attract FDI inflows of $1 billion in the coming few years.
PM Modi emphasizing the importance of the sector
While addressing participants of Toycathon-2021, earlier this year, even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sensing the window of opportunity had emphasized the importance of the gaming sector. By focusing on the toy and gaming sector, the PM said that country’s crores of rupees going outside can be saved.
PM Modi said, “Today, we import around 80 per cent of our toys as well. That is, crores of rupees of the country are going out on these. Today, the world wants to understand the present potential of India, the art-culture of India, the society of India in a better way. Our Toys and Gaming Industry can play a big role in this.”
In the last five-six years, the Prime Minister said hackathons have been made big platforms to solve the problems of the country and that the thinking behind this is to organize the country’s potential and to give it a medium. “The effort is that our youth should be directly connected to the challenges and solutions of the country.”
Given the success of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if the Modi government thinks out of the box and introduces a similar scheme for the gaming industry and developers. After all, if India wants to realize the $5 trillion economy dream by 2025, we might need all hands on deck, and gaming sector has the potential to fill a key missing piece of the puzzle.