Console and PC hardware is still very expensive for many users but the acceleration of smartphone use, especially driven by new data competition (c.f. Jio / Vodafone / Idea) is creating a marketplace of c.300M+ handsets – with lots of room for expansion (only 30% Indian mobile users currently have a smart phone).
Currently gaming is dominated by students, with limited purchasing power, and as many players do not have a credit card payment systems also provide a challenge, e.g. Steam codes in India are requested online but then sent round in person to collect cash.
BUT despite some hurdles in distribution, connectivity and payment infrastructure there is a strong belief that the market will grow rapidly. Game downloads are already significant numbers and there is demonstrable engagement for both global titles and more localised content.
There is also a real corporate interest in e-Sports as an emerging commercial opportunity – does it reach an audience which is highly aspirational in desire to participate but finding barriers to entry in cost / availability of kit?
Visible political support at the show and newly published mapping and statistics on the sector found parallels in the position of the UK a few years back – as culturally and commercially the impact of the Games industry, and significant future potential, began to drive a strategic policy interest and response.
The positive view in Delhi had a physical representation in Hyderabad, where the economic confidence and growth of the city was embodied in major development of office space and infrastructure (as the saying goes count the cranes…)