Feature

Game On

India’s untapped gaming industry has just run into a massive opportunity, following the flood of smartphones and cheap data

Vikash Jaiswal can’t hide his excitement. The 40-year-old travelled to Mumbai from Patna 15 years back to try his hand at an unusual career — game development. In Mumbai, he worked with several companies before starting out on his own with Gametion in 2008. It has been a few years in this industry but, over the past two years, there has been a remarkable change. 

He launched an online board game — Ludo King — in December 2016. Earlier, he had brought out various browser-based puzzle, racing, and action games but traffic for these games was declining. He turned his attention to mobile-phone games and Ludo King had to wait for eight months to hit the one million downloads milestone on the Google Play store. Today, the rate of downloads has sped up to reach over 200 million — a massive number. “We are the only Indian title to have crossed 100 million downloads on Google Play store,” he says. Since then, he has also brought out Carrom King, the downloads of which have now reached over 10 million.

Vikash Jaiswal Founder, GametionWhat really changed in the past two years? There are the obvious reasons. The smartphone penetration increased to a massive 500 million users in India (with 404 million users in 2017 according to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index). Next came the advent of Reliance Jio in 2016, which showered the telecom market with freebies. There was high-speed data available at cheap rates across the country. As per the Department of Telecommunications, data rates fell by 93% and data usage increased 25x over three years.

The Indian gaming market, estimated to be at one billion, had anyway been on the rise over past five to seven years. The number of Indian game publishers rose from 25 to 250, between 2010 and 2017. Prominent names now are Dream11, Nazara Technologies, 99Games, Gametion, Octro, JetSynthesys and Moonfrog. 

Though the average revenue per user in India is only $13, as of 2018, it has seen the fastest growth in the gaming markets of the world. India&

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