India outpaced early mobile gaming predictions—here’s how

ByHT Brand Studio
Aug 02, 2021 01:41 PM IST

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many consumers to become digital converts, turning to technology and the internet for new digital experiences.

Consumers in India, already considered a mobile-first market, are spending more time on their mobile devices. This is especially true in these times of pandemic, as people can’t—and are reluctant—to go out for socialization.

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50% of smartphone users in India play mobile games

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many consumers to become digital converts, turning to technology and the internet for new digital experiences—not just for work and study, but also for shopping and other leisure activities in the safety of their homes.

In India, which the government estimates to have 760 million internet users, more than half of these users play online games at this point, according to new research focused on mobile devices by ENV Media. And those estimated 365 million online players get in touch with their games via mobile phones—making India the second-largest mobile gaming market.

“The COVID-19 pandemic was an unexpected event for all. Yet, it turned into a factor that pushed most digital trends in the same direction they had already taken,” according to ENV Media analysts. “Nowadays, the former family primetime hours are often dedicated to gaming, and this kind of fragmented, customizable, and largely free gaming experience is the new preferred pastime for many Indians.”

The ENV Media report, which uses proprietary data and analytic feedback from its properties including Indian affiliate SevenJackpots, pointed out how the Indian mobile gaming market has already “outpaced early predictions of growth in gamer communities by a year.” This is in reference to the 2018 Kantar IMRB study, which forecasts the “phenomenal growth in mobile gamers in India” to result in a further increase to 368 million by 2022.

“The number of searches for mobile games have literally skyrocketed during the past 6 months. Indian players seem to prefer to play local table games such as Andar Bahar directly from their phone, instead of using traditional devices such as tablets or desktops,” ENV Media CEO and founder Mattias Bergehed said, according to a LiveMint report.

Android phones ‘primary medium’ for gaming

In terms of the types of mobile devices used, researchers at ENV Media said that Android smartphones are seen as “the primary medium” for both online and offline gaming in India, whose gaming market enjoys playing casual entertainment games including teen patti, rummy, Matka, andar bahar, Texas hold ‘em poker and online lottery on websites like

The popularity of Android-based devices in the local gamer community can be attributed to several factors: it’s cheaper compared to iOS devices; the OS is open, in that Indian tech companies and web developers are comfortable working with Android; and hardware parts and tech support can be easily found in the country.

“Android established its dominance in India ever since 2014 when it grabbed roughly 45 percent of the market… In India, Apple has been hovering around the 3 percent margin for the past few years,” the ENV Media report stated. “More importantly, Google Play generated 13 times more downloads when compared to iOS. Casual games added a dimension that gave another angle to the surge in usage that week, all by more than 70%.”

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