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Online gaming gains traction amid Covid

NEW DELHI: As most of India stayed home since April last year due to Covid-induced restrictions, gaming has emerged as a strong category, with as many as 360 million Indians going online last year against 300 million in 2019. The 20% growth in gamers and heightened activity online also saw an 18% rise in revenues from gaming that are estimated to have touched Rs 7,700 crore in 2020 against Rs 6,500 crore in the previous year, according to a report by EY.
Traditionally limited to smartphones, gaming has now started to spill over to desktops, laptops and bigger screens that provide enhanced user experience through better graphics and display, easier controls, and rich sound.
The trend has been accentuated further as many are taking up gaming as a career for credible long-term prospects, according to a study by computer major HP, which spoke to around 1,500 respondents across 25 cities in the age group of 15-40 years.

As the craze intensifies, demand for specialised personal computers meant for gaming has seen a surge, and volumes in the category have shot up by three times. “With people spending more time at home, gaming has seen a dramatic rise, as consumers look to find new avenues for entertainment, stress release and social connect,” Ketan Patel, MD of Indian market for HP, said. Companies such as HP see a “massive business opportunity” in the trend and are strengthening their gaming PC portfolio to cater to the demand.
EY’s media and entertainment category leader Ashish Pherwani estimates gaming to reach Rs 15,500 crore in revenues by 2023 at a CAGR of 27% to become the third-largest segment of the Indian media and entertainment sector. There are a variety of gaming categories in the country, which includes transaction-based gaming, casual gaming, fantasy sports and esports. According to EY, regulatory uncertainty needs to be resolved through policy clarity for the segment to achieve its potential. “Future growth will be driven by IoT gaming, smart sports clothing, health gaming, gamification of traditional media and 5G-led innovations across cloud gaming, cross-platform gaming, e-commerce gamification, AR and VR games.”
According to a study by storage maker Western Digital, ‘serious gamers’ are spending over 10 hours per week on gaming, and PC-based access is on the rise. “There is a strong sense of accomplishment among gamers as PC gaming allows them to express their creativity and provides an opportunity to learn,” says Jaganathan Chelliah, director (marketing) at Western Digital India.



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