BGR India has just completed the second edition of the BGR Tech Excellence Awards 2021. The annual award ceremony that honours innovation, and excellence in the tech industry witnessed the engagement of some of the industry-leading faces at the virtual event. Also Read - This Indian couple will host Hogwarts' The Great Hall-themed wedding reception in metaverse
Besides the award distribution across segments including smartphones, laptops, wearables, audio devices, the second iteration conducted insightful panel discussions on the Future of Gaming. Also Read - Metaverse is coming: Here’s what top tech companies are saying about it
While India is considered (as per World Economic Forum) as the second-largest consumer it is attributed to the soaring gaming industry as well. As the world grappled with the pandemic, it paved the way for this industry to reach an all-time high record across major parts of the world during the lockdown. India became the second-largest hub for casual gamers, and the native gaming industry was valued at $1.8 billion in 2021. Also Read - Metaverse trend is raging but not everyone is buying into the hype
Industry experts and some of the renowned stakeholders participated in the panel discussion on the Future of Gaming and here’s what they had to say about the importance of gaming, its prospects in India, and the future. The panelists in the discussion included- Nitish Singal – Head, Personal Systems, HP India, Abhay Sharma – VP, Esports Ops and Broadcasting, MPL, and Dr. Mohan Kumar R, Ph.D. – Founder & CEO, Fanplay IoT were asked about the reason behind the growth of the gaming industry, and how fast eSports is growing.
Abhay Sharma – VP, Esports Ops, and Broadcasting, MPL explained the accessibility to be a key factor for the rise in numbers. While a few years back, players had to stick to expensive counterparts like PC, or consoles to have a good gaming experience, smartphones managed staging games in recent days.
“Since the generation of mobile smartphones came into play, a lot of people have been really added with the games being able to play on their mobile phones. So, they have been really engrossed in New Age games like on PUBG Mobile, Free Fire, or any of those genre games that we have on the platform right. So anywhere across India, a user can play an Esports tournament, a user can play a game on their mobile phone directly, so they don’t need to invest in heavy equipment they will need to invest in the entire ecosystem of PCs or consoles. It’s actually about accessibility is what I believe,” Mr. Abhay said.
As the Indian gaming industry has seen exponential growth in recent years, the industry is expected to touch the $5 billion mark by 2025. When asked how the gaming market will evolve in the next five years, Mr. Nitish Singal – Head, Personal Systems, HP India, said that India has been “very uniquely positioned right both as a market where we have a large audience that’s going to gain on various devices, but also as a talent pool.”
Meet Abhay Sharma from MPL, Nitish Singal from HP India, Dr. Mohan Kumar R from Fanplay IoT join us as panel discussion speakers on Future of Gaming at the 2nd edition of #BGRTechExcellenceAwards2021 @Sophos @IntelIndia @Flipkart @HPIndia @PlayMPL @DineshDevSharma pic.twitter.com/nKDsjS8ECU
— BGR.in (@BGRIndia) December 21, 2021
While accessibility is one of the factors, Mr. Singal pointed out the kind of content that will be created over the next few years to play an important role and “will drive the adoption of the actual gaming category.”
Mobile gaming has captured a big share of the gaming market, courtesy of the featured-packed devices that a user can easily grab at an affordable price. With mobile users forming ‘an overwhelming’ share, it is followed by PC users in the second spot. When asked how laptops will come close to smartphones, consoles in terms of new technology and innovation to make the market more competitive, the HP India executive said, “There are two very broad reasons why PCs are going to be big with respect to gaming over the next few years. Firstly, as I said, a much more immersive experience that you can get on the device. And second, the fact that the ECM and that sort of compared to a console is a multi-use device, right? So, when you buy a PC to gain, you also possibly do a lot of other things on it right? You attend your classes are your other work, right? You only spend 60,70, 80% of the time gaming, and the rest of the time is spent doing a host of other things.”
#BGRTechExcellenceAwards2021: Winner for the Best Gaming Laptop Of 2021 is Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition. Congratulations!!!@ASUS #AsusROGStrixG15AdvantageEdition@Sophos @IntelIndia @Flipkart pic.twitter.com/glZc3EbNMa
— BGR.in (@BGRIndia) December 23, 2021
With pandemic enclosing us in the four walls, young people especially kids had to switch to virtual solutions, and as Indian parents are seen motivating kids to play video games. Dr Mohan Kumar R, Ph.D. – Founder & CEO, Fanplay IoT explaining the paradigm shift in the mindset of Indian parents, said, “The pandemic has created a situation where kids are not able to do the physical games, right? So broadly, you would want your kid to be very active and fit and take up some game on the other. But that went away with the pandemic coming in the past couple of years and kids are all locked up at homes and the only way you can do something about it is to at least enhance the skill which most of these games offer. So, you can think of keeping the agility of, or the mental agility of kids alive actually is not the physical activity. So, parents have innovated in some sense, I would say to latch on to this big way of getting onto a gaming platform. But at the same time, I believe that we are also concerned about long-term effects, mental health effects, and addiction. Now I think a sort of balance is coming. I think, our days, of course, you know, parents would always say don’t play any of these mobile games. But now I think there’s a sense of balance, which is coming in into everybody’s family.”
Dr Mohan also cited the Indian gamers’ exposure to the global gaming platform and said that India will be the center and will have “a lot of contribution coming from the Indian gamers per se and the socio-economic impact is also pretty high.” “It’s not just startups coming in getting some fresh ideas, but you’re also looking at how the entire ecosystem is coming,” he said.
“And it’s, you know, one of the reports I was reading it says that matter of few years, the total prize money offered by eSports will be far more than the IPL franchise events. So, it’s going to be phenomenal in the next few years. And a lot of technologies are also coming in. For example, if this was talking about how mobiles and laptops are evolving, you know, to take that kind of computing requirement to the next level. We will also see a lot of changes coming on the wearables and the sensing part of it, which is very much required for the metaverse which we are talking about. So, I think we have a great opportunity as a country to go behind this, not just from finding champions, you know, in this gaming world, but we should also be in a position to actually roll the technology part of it,” he added.
While enhanced graphics, improved content, refined settings have made gaming a pleasurable experience, Esports players are still not safe from getting plagued with scams, and bots. Asking about the security and fair play for users in the future to Mr. Abhay, emphasized the anti-cheat engine that developers implement in games these days. He further explained how eSports function differently as compared to video games.
Explaining about MSP he said, “We already have a fair play policy on onto the platform. The games themselves have an anti-cheat engine within them. There are a lot of checks. And I would say anti-hacking measures or anti-cheating measures being put on the game on the platform. And even on the ecosystem. They figure out that all the fraudulent users, all the boards, and scams are kept away from the platform. And the entire experience would be as refreshing and genuine for the user.” “eSports being electronic there are certain challenges that come with it. Being a gaming company, we had a plan, platform data publishing company, they have to make sure that with this opportunity or with this technology, they are as secure as possible to keep the entire experience really, really as closest to a physical sport as possible, so that there are no frauds and no cheaters,” he cited.
The video game industry has long been facing diversity problems, and even with advancements in technology, and ease of access the contribution of female gamers is relatively low. Mr. Nitish responding to the gender disparity said that HP has done ‘research on consumer trends on gaming,’ where they found female participants more inclined towards gaming as an activity or a career option. “From HP’s point of view, everything we do on gaming our gaming community, we have a gaming squad, right where influencers sort of a game with the consumers on our platform, extremely gender-neutral.”
We even touched upon the factor as to how the gaming industry is/will contribute to the Indian economy, in terms of jobs and revenue, and Dr. Mohan Kumar explained, “Gaming, eSports and everything has grown just in the past four or five years and it’s unlike other parts of the world I recall, we did some activation way back in 2016 in Cologne, Germany, for the ESL and that other point of time, gaming was a big buzzword in India. But India has a very younger population, I think 24-year-old constitute almost 50% of the population it is going to see exponential growth. And what could happen is once the regulatory frameworks are in place, the government figures out a lot of gaming federation, all those things are there, which needs to be institutionalized. And once those mechanisms are put in place, I think you would soon see the trickling down effect of the entire economics of the gaming.”