Online gaming employed 1 lakh+ skilled professionals in 2023 in India: Report

New Delhi: If you thought India’s online gaming craze was a pandemic fad, think again. The latest numbers from a fresh report prove that the industry’s future is bright. The report from the Interactive Entertainment and Innovation Council (IEIC) shows that online gaming in India directly and indirectly employed over 100,000 skilled professionals in 2023 alone. And this is just the start – the sector is expected to generate over 250,000 more jobs in the coming decade.
What’s driving this incredible growth? For starters, India has a massive base of 568 million gamers as of last year, the report has revealed. To put things into perspective, that’s over 1.5 times the entire US population. So it’s no surprise that India accounted for 16% of global game downloads in 2023 – the highest of any nation in the report (which did not include China). This outpaces countries like the US (7.4% share) and Brazil (7.6%).
The downloads are also on a steady rise. Between 2019 and 2023 alone, India’s game downloads rose from 5.65 billion to 9.5 billion. Out of the total player base in the country, 144 million were labeled “paying users” in 2023 (expected to reach 240 million by 2028). While unspecified in the report, this figure likely includes players engaged in real money games.
Fueling this gaming economy are approximately 15,000 game developers and over 1,400 gaming companies (including 500+ studios).
India’s ascent as a gaming powerhouse can be attributed to its unique strengths – the large user base, elite talent, robust IP protection, and startup-friendly policies, the report points out. And with the potential for 10 unicorns and 5 decacorns by 2028, the government is going full throttle.
Multiple states are launching dedicated AVGC (Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics) policies, funds, and Centers of Excellence, the report points out. The central government too has a national AVGC mission and ‘Create in India’ campaign in the works.
With encouraging numbers, esports companies have a positive outlook on the future of the industry in the country.
Rohit Jagasia, Founder and CEO of Revenant Esports has highlighted the efforts that can be undertaken to fuel further growth: “To further power up India’s gaming and esports industry, which is still focused mostly on a largely male and tier one demographic, we need to cultivate growth amongst females and also regional audiences.”
Meanwhile, Shiva Nandy, Founder and CEO, Skyesports talks up the importance of language in engaging regional audiences. “With the current growth coming a lot out of tier 2 and tier 3 cities, engaging regional audiences in their native languages is crucial. For global publishers eyeing expansion in India, they should customise their approach to resonate with regional audiences which can unlock significant growth opportunities in the market.”

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