After a series of Covid lockdowns, up to half of all Bharat users turned to online mobile games as a new form of casual entertainment, study shows. With smartphones the centre of our daily routine, more than ever before, user groups across generations learn to appreciate new forms of socialisation.

Lockdown Effects on Mobile Phone Use

To many, it comes as no surprise that mobile phone usage has risen considerably over the past year. Cell phones are affordable, data plans are finally cheap and the desi internet market is literally exploding. Apparently, Covid-related restrictions on businesses, events and social life acted as an additional catalyst for a more rapid change in digital consumption and online lifestyle.

A recent study showed that the popularity of mobile gaming and online entertainment is reaching unprecedented levels. 2020 saw Indians spend more time at home and more time with their handheld devices, with up to 45 per cent of the nation already playing mobile games. The amount of time spent on such casual online entertainment also rose, as well as the number of apps downloaded and tried.

Forty per cent of those users increased their sessions on casino games online when playing on sites such as PureWin, instant gambling on social networks and hit mobile gaming apps. The survey also indicates new peak hours of online gameplay (such as 11:30 am), top rising age groups (45+ or Gen X) and other aspects of gamer profiles, including the 45% of the mobile gaming audience being female. 

India has become the fifth largest mobile gaming market globally, expected to reach USD 3 billion by 2023. A permanent change in entertainment consumption is on the cards, with casual gaming and instant-play online apps destined to prove themselves as a preferred source of relaxation for the majority of smartphone users. Multiplayer games are also increasingly used to connect with family members and friends, as over 80 per cent of India’s regular users access these apps every day.

Indian Gaming Scene Growth Has Positive Business Impacts

Looking at the trend from a business perspective, it has an added value for the entire IT and tech sector of the Union. Local game studios have reported fantastic annual results, as their growth outperformed predictions from a year ago. Investors are also flocking to the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market, supporting India’s retreat from a dependence on Chinese-based Apps and services.

The gaming technology niche counts more than 300 influential development studios, while 10 years ago there were a handful of those. Casual gaming, card apps, battle arena, puzzle and board games spike in interest, as gaming demand rises and indicates the way forward to even stronger economic growth. More importantly, Indian companies today do not play second fiddle, leaving behind the back-office mentality characteristic of the IT segment in the past.

The IT sector, in general, has been less affected by the Covid-19 related downturn in economic fortunes. Indian gaming studios have the know-how, experience and top-level talent to remain competitive in a digital sector which becomes more relevant for the entire entertainment industry. While global markets remain the ultimate frontier, the desi market is first priority for the majority of the nation’s developers, with local contents and favourite games leading the download rankings and popularity charts.