India's Incoming Mobile Gaming Explosion


The dice have rolled and everyone around the Pachisi board is placing bets on India as the next mobile gaming giant. 1.2 billion people live in the vast South Asian country and Superdata Research asserts it is the fastest-growing mobile games market. And now that Western markets have largely matured companies are looking to India for expansion. Cut The Rope developer Zeptolab recently signed a multi-year publishing deal with Nazara Games, estimating 50 million downloads within a few years. It’s a brilliant move. According to a partnership study between NewZoo and OneSky the Indian mobile gaming market is expected to grow to $571.6 million by 2016, and $3 billion by 2019.

“Countries like India have yet to develop a large homegrown game industry, but have strong revenue potential as local telecom operators have started lowering their rates. Western game makers who establish an early foothold in these regions will see major payouts in the next few years as spending in these markets grows.” -SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen

Asia’s mobile networks are signals made of gold—worth $14 billion or more than half of global mobile games revenue. At the time of this writing 90% of Asian mobile game revenue flows through China, Japan, and South Korea. India threatens to shake the foundation with an enormous population and rapidly growing smartphone acquisition.

“With a year-on-year growth of 132.2 per cent, revenues in India’s mobile gaming market have grown more quickly than those in any other BRIC country. In fact, that [year-on-year] growth is among the highest in the world.” -Newzoo

Like many developing countries India has made a technological hurdle into smartphones, bypassing traditional devices like desktop PCs. And consoles are almost nonexistent. Leaving smartphones reign as the predominant digital entertainment. It’s estimated that 200 million people will have a glaring device in their pockets by the end of 2015, with an estimated growth of 100 million smartphone owners annually.

Until recently the development of infrastructure has been fairly slow, but cheaper devices make the technology far more accessible, particularly Android. iOS-exclusive titles will struggle to permeate Indian audiences. 9 out of 10 India mobile gamers prefer Android devices over the expensive price of Apple products. Keep in mind that Apple is largely seen as a sign of luxury thanks to ludicrous pricing. 

This article is largely steeped in speculation. But drawing parallels between India and China in the earlier part of the century suggests an explosion in growth. Developers will begin to create games catering to Indian culture to try and grapple the market—maybe Activision Blizzard will push newly acquired Candy Crush Saga into the emerging market. The curious question is who will survive India, and whether traditional mobile games such as Clash of Clans and Puzzles and Dragons will prove as successful.  


SuperData Research: What Western Publishers Need to Know About the Asian Mobile Market 2016
VentureBeat: All aboard. The India mobile game train is about to depart
Newzoo: Mobile gaming market in India to cross $571 million by 2016: Study

From Mega Man II to Ape Escape, I've been playing games for as long as I can remember. I've spent months killing porings in Ragnarok Online and more recently lived a second life in Eve Online. I usually play as gUMBY, gUMBLEoni, or gUMBLes in-game.