ValueTheMarkets News Commentary – The Indian gaming market is projected to rapidly grow in size, nearly tripling from $2.6bn to $8.6bn between 2022 and 2027 according to projections from Statista. Perhaps this is no surprise, considering the country's huge population of young consumers and rapid adoption of tech. This article will discuss the issue with reference to Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Tencent Holdings Ltd (OTC: TCEHY), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and QYOU Media (TSXV: QYOU) (OTCQB: QYOUF).
As this article has already shown, gaming is set for a massive uplift in India. A major part of this opportunity is the mobile gaming market, with the vast majority of gamers in the country using their smartphone to play. Indeed, 94% of gamers use their phones in India according to KPMG, compared to less than 10% using PC or consoles respectively. That's why we're looking at QYOU Media, Tencent, Microsoft and Alphabet from a largely mobile perspective.
QYOU Media (TSXV: QYOU) (OTCQB: QYOUF) is an entertainment company with a focus on bringing creator-led content to the Indian market. While the business already owns a slew of successful TV channels across traditional and app-based platforms, it took the jump into the mobile gaming space at the start of this year.
In January, the business acquired Maxamtech, a specialist in free-to-play mobile games and owner of the Gaming360 platform.
Now, the business is moving into the real-money gaming space, taking advantage of its huge popularity in India. The business will launch a new version of its casual mobile gaming app, QGAMESMELA, which comes with 'freemium' capabilities. Players will be able to win cash prizes and awards via both free and real-money gaming engagements.
With India's real-money gaming market expected to reach 60bn rupees by 2025, this looks like it could be an astute move from this rapidly evolving business.
Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) has a major opportunity in India due to the strong growth of app users in the country. Indeed, according to 42Matters, India is the top country in the world in terms of number of apps installed and used per month.
The company has enjoyed huge growth in India, with its mobile play store seeing a 200% increase in active monthly users and an 80% jump in consumer spending in 2021 compared to 2019.
While a large amount of app downloads are by gamers, with titles like Ludo King exceeding 500 million downloads, the company said in 2022 that it had also seen "stupendous growth" across categories like education, payments, health and entertainment.
With 2022 representing the first year of declines in Google App Store revenues, the company could decide that focusing on a major potential market like India is a route to strong future growth.
Tencent Holdings Ltd (OTC: TCEHY) is an absolute titan when it comes to mobile gaming. In India, the company owned PUBG Mobile, which WAS the top mobile gaming IP back in 2021.
The company also owns Finnish videogame developer Supercell, makers of the Clash of Clans titles. This further demonstrates the Chinese multinational's tight grasp on the nation's mobile gaming space at the time.
So, what's changed?
September 2020 saw the Indian government banning titles like PUBG Mobile and other Chinese-owned apps, citing data privacy issues. Replacement versions of some titles have resurfaced, but the ban has damaged Tencent in the country.
But Tencent is wading back into India, having launched new mobile title Undawn in the country back in June 2023. With no bans in place yet, despite noise from some interest groups, this could be the start of a new concerted push into the territory.
Tech giant Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is another outfit which is pushing into the Indian mobile gaming market.
This is largely due to the company's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which bolsters its PC and console gaming offering but also crucially offers major new inroads into the mobile gaming space. As one of the biggest markets in the world for mobile gaming, India is sure to be a target for the company.
The company will already have a strong presence in the nation. Research published by Statista in 2021 indicated that Activision Blizzard's growing share of the Indian gaming market would represent more than 14% of the total in 2022.
Indeed, immensely popular mobile titles like Candy Crush are already under the company's wing and offer it significant opportunity. Additionally, the clear challenges already in place for Chinese competition mean that further growth is a realistic possibility.
While its clear that India presents a huge opportunity for gaming companies, this article has outlined the radically different states some of the main competitors find themselves in. Tencent is dogged by uncertainty as it attempts to bounce back from mass bans, while Microsoft has suddenly become a key player. Alphabet's platform is seeing major growth and new kid on the block QYOU Media is astutely swooping in to corner the real-money gaming opportunity.
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