Computer video games have come a really long way, from an ordinary phosphorous green pixel to photorealistic graphics. However, mobile gaming has been unlike traditional computer games and has been able to leap forward rapidly thanks to modern electronics and technology. Currently, mobile gaming is driving strong engagement and high growth rates due to the sheer penetration of the category being far greater than PC and rapid penetration of better configuration processors/GPUs over lower price points. Many gaming publishers have now launched mobile optimised versions of console and PC games. For example, the in-demand multiplayer battle royale games such as PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile, which were initially PC & Console games have seen their usage growth explode once extended to mobile.
Games on the mobile platform now look increasingly realistic and very new generation ‘console-like’. Not just the graphics, the gameplay mechanics - thanks to multi-point touchscreens - are cutthroat and complex, enhancing gameplay like never seen before on a handheld device. Advancements in the GPU have truly unlocked the potential of the mobile gaming market, allowing AAA titles to make better entry as well.
The smartphone displays are already in the next generation with refresh rates reaching 120 Hz, while at the same time offering vivid display technologies such as HDR10, allowing games to run at FHD+ and QHD+ resolution with super-sharp textures. Thanks to bleeding edge gaming focused technologies, consumers are aspiring for smartphones like the ROG Phone 2, which features many world’s first technologies at an alluring price. This is also one of the reasons why it has been easy for games like PUBG Mobile to grab the attention of new generation of gamers everywhere around the world. Even in India, it’s not just a pastime, rather it is competing with the world’s best PUBG Mobile gamers.
Various studies indicate that 20 percent of the installed smartphone base is the serious gaming market i.e. around 75Mn+ users. Nearly 50 percent swing between serious and casual gaming, which is over 200M smartphone. Over 40 percent of the gamers spend more than an hour per day playing mobile games. Today gamers are multi-genre gamers, like action and adventure, racing and sports, puzzles, quizzes, strategy and role playing, and casino and betting. Even though gamers prefer to play games from multiple genres, male gamers are more skewed towards action and sports games along with other genres whereas female gamers on the other hand are more inclined towards puzzles, quiz, and word games.
Falling under the ‘Action and Adventure’ genre, in which 10s to 100s of players compete in real-time to be the last player standing, games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), Call of Duty, Free Fire which feature fast-paced, hyperkinetic action and movement are trending in India. More and more casual gamers like to play multi-player games that do not last more than 15-20 minutes. This allows them to spend some well-deserved recreation time deploying real-time skills and strategies without hindering their schedules. Moreover, smartphone makers delivering competent hardware even in mid-range smartphones has helped in accelerating the appetite for mobile games in the Indian market and shows immense potential for mobile game publishers.
This also brings forward the keen interest in Esports - yet other facet of online gameplay. Today’s youth is as or more engaged in Multiplayer online mobile games as cricket. No other gaming platform has picked up Esports as fast as smartphones. With games like PUBG, Mobile Legends, and Clash Royale, Esports has already made a positive and engaging impact in India. Esports event organizers such as DreamHack and ESL are regularly hosting events in India. International gaming teams like Fnatic and Team Vitality have announced investments in the Indian esports market. Non-Endemic Brands like Mountain Dew, Flipkart, Microsoft, Mercedes, Redbull, to name a few, are investing in Esports gaming. Along with them, companies like ASUS, Tencent are also playing their part in the growth of Esports in India.
We are sure that the year 2020 will also witness the radical expansion of a gaming ecosystem. Also Cloud based gaming with the introduction of Google Stadia, will enable console gaming content streaming on smartphones. With game streaming, all an end user needs to have is an input device, a display, audio output and a stable, fast internet connection as well as low latency.
The gaming industry has been marked by innovations and changes, and this trend is expected to continue with more fervor in the future.The author is Mobile Business Head, ASUS India.