Attention fatigue is every marketing and sales person’s hurdle. Add download fatigue and latency blockade; it’s enough to put a brand out of business. Gaming helped Flipkart solve these two problems in 2017 in a trendsetting move.
How big is the Indian gaming economy?
The Indian user has come a long way since the 2004 arcade game ‘snake’. Ludo, Carom and Cricket are played more often on mobile phones than in person. Ludo King is India’s top downloaded game crossing 500 Million downloads. Dream 11 and MPL became the first unicorns dealing in gaming; Gamezop claims to have 3500+ clients, including Amazon and SonyLIV.
An estimated 400 Million online gamers translate to about 28% of the population, so it is safe to assume that every youth with a mobile phone is playing games online. At DE-CIX, we have seen a 1482% increase in Indian gaming traffic from Feb 2020 to Sep 2021. The Lockdown also boosted In-app purchases in stand-alone game applications, with Temple Run and Candy Crush Saga leaders. Above all gaming, startups raised approximately $400 million in 2021.
Today, India is one of the world’s top five markets for mobile gaming. An IAMAI, RedSeer, and OnePlus report predicts that India’s mobile gaming market will grow from $1.8 billion in 2021 to $6-7 billion by 2025, more than a threefold increase.
Problems the industry faces!!
Ironically, while the Indian gaming industry is solving E-commerce and OTT applications, those working solutions do not favour the gaming companies themselves. Most provide clients with a straightforward plugin approach for their well-established customers, engaging their users with simple games. This is enough to retain a user for 10 mins waiting for a sale to kick-off, trigger an impulse purchase or reconsider another browse through prompted products on the app. However, the specs of these games skew them in a direction that doesn’t generate a repeat visit.
The Pandemic has also shifted the nature of gaming. While competition is still the primary goal for core gamers, it only makes up less than 5% of the larger pool that is casual gaming. Casual gamers who resort to games to destress also socialise in the chatrooms and invite friends to play. One must not forget that above all, connection gossip is the strongest, and for the age group, 14 to 29, games and movies are becoming the dominant gossip even on social media. If a game is not gossip-worthy, it will be replaced by one. It’s no surprise that almost every popular movie has a game as well.
From a technical perspective, Latency is a serious concern. Several industry experts argue that “The elimination of latency is at the top of the list. Scalability comes second”.
According to one study, a 2-second delay in loading is enough to increase the bounce rate by as much as 100%. Consider the negative impact if a user experiences a 30-50ms delay in a game. For a game to be gossip-worthy, it needs to have good graphics, increasing data transfer. Gaming companies may lose users due to frequent lags and disconnections caused by high Latency and poor infrastructure support.
Security is a concern, especially with kids owning personal mobile phones. Gaming providers must be cautious in their server and location selection to ensure that data is routed along a secure path. They can easily reach their end-users by exchanging traffic with the trusted ISPs connected to the platform. The Internet service providers should also be connected to the interconnection platform to exchange their customers’ gaming data in a secure and low-latency environment while providing the best user experience for every end-user.
The Solutions are current !!
The Solutions to these problems exist, however either due to lack of awareness or willingness, they are ignored. We have discussed the growth in In-app purchases and non-Indian companies benefiting from the available infrastructure. A few business-to-customer startups are building additional products for the Indian market but are not up to the market potential. Simply eliminating interconnection problems will significantly reduce the high drop off rate that most platforms face.
This solution addresses how a gaming network can connect to other networks in a closed environment, reducing complexity, increasing safety, improving performance, and establishing manageable compliance. Interconnection can serve gamers at the lowest possible Latency for their geographical location. On the global interconnection platform, a game developer can create its own Closed User Group, dictating the policies that must be followed regarding performance, security and compliance.
Extending on this idea, if the gaming industry creates a collaborative environment and joint policies based on shared needs and regulatory requirements, they can form a sector federation, bringing together the whole gaming industry in one spot.
While the shift from desktop to web application was gradual for casual gaming it will be sudden and dramatic, and while there are more nuanced approaches to boost business. The first step is to get the basics right with a robust reliable and trusted interconnection. If latency is fixed scalability is destined to follow.