With the emergence of new technologies in market, the online gaming industry has seen an upsurge. According to a report published in Forbes, India’s mobile games market will be worth $1.1 billion by 2020, and the number of users will reach 628 million.
Reinforcing the growth prospects of the online gaming industry, Gaurav Sarin, Business Head, Cricplay, shares, “The industry in India has seen a tremendous growth of late with revenue of around USD 50 billion this year alone. Reports suggest that this industry would grow at a CAGR of 20% over the next 4-5 years, fuelled by rapid smartphone adoption & easy access to the internet.”
“Online gaming revenue will touch about INR 12000 crore by 2023. With approximately 20%-23% CAGR, there has been a ten-fold increase in game developing firms as well (from 25 in 2010 to 250 in 2018). Female gamers are also on the rise. Gone are the days that online gaming was a male bastion,” shares Naveen Goyal, CEO of Khel Group,
Jay Sayta, founder, Glaws.in, also believes that the industry will grow at over 20-30% CAGR, if the government does not bring in restrictive regulations.
Further, a survey has revealed that mobile gaming is part of daily lives of more than one-third Indians — 40% men and 35% women play mobile games at least five days a week.
With the online gaming industry flourishing fast, brands are not behind in tapping into the opportunities offered by these platforms. Advertising on gaming platforms is increasingly becoming a part of marketing plans of several companies. The association could be in the form of flashing the logo or engaging gamers actively through in-app video strategy. Being a more interactive medium, a mobile game platform gives more visibility to brands.
According to Harsha Sachdeva, Co-founder of Fun & Earn gaming, brands/third parties are trying hard to reach out to the gamers these days. When asked about the precautions that a brand should take while associating with any online gaming platform, Sachdeva suggests, “Look out for the actual reach of the platform. More the user base of an application, more is the effectiveness and efficiency of the influence.”
Goyal says that brands should align themselves with platforms that have a user base specific to their genre and give scope for interactivity and brand building. “It is important that brands and marketers look forward to positivity and platforms that increase the brand value,” he adds.
Brands should be cognizant of the transactional format in which certain gaming platforms operate, says Sarin.
“As a brand, you would want users to engage with a platform for the love of the game. While traditional advertising works on CPC, CPM models, we believe engagement & time spent should be key levers towards building a sustainable brand image. That’s exactly the pulse of our users who come back on the app every day of the month to experience the exciting gameplay we have built,” explains Sarin.
In light of the low data costs, there has been a huge spurt in both adoption as well as engagement of gaming apps, leading to a massive growth in the mobile gaming industry. Further, e-sports is also growing rapidly. All of this has created an opportunity for brands to engage with gamers. But associating with the right type of games that align with the brand philosophy is critical, says Rajan Navani, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, JetSynthesys.
Explaining with an example, Navani says, “A 3D cricket game where one plays as Sachin Tendulkar in 100 of his best innings, the value a brand can derive can be very significant. It is because the genre is cricket, there is an element of heroism attached to Sachin and there is a large engaged digital community.”
So, what role can gaming platforms play in brand building?
Goyal explains, “Online gaming platforms are the right place for marketers to explore brand promotions. The games give a loyal and wide audience base that is focused in their consumption patterns. These platforms, therefore, become conducive market places. Brands can run promotions, in-app purchases or also go for the more serious brand building activities by integrating through the theme of the online/streaming platforms.”
“Definitely in the future, more and more brands would be looking at this media platform for focused interactive audience groups with typical consumption patterns that can fit the brand profiles,” he concludes.