Tech Startup Exec Sees Indian Online Gaming Sector Exploding

Desi gaming giant Nazara Technologies’ chief believes the nation’s gaming industry could grow as much as tenfold in the next three years. Investments, innovations and a changing legal climate should contribute to take the sector to another level.

Tech Enablers and Investor Support Key to Market Success

In a keynote speech at the Exchange4Media summit, the founder and joint managing director of India’s own Nazara Technologies, Nitish Mittersain, was more than optimistic about the future of the nation’s gaming industry. Speaking on the “next level of online gaming in India”, he shared his conviction that the sector is likely to grow ten times in size over the next three years.

Himself running a gaming business approaching a unicorn valuation ($1 billion), Mittersain stressed the importance of large capital investments in the industry. Young gaming entrepreneurs are bursting with quality ideas and creative energy, taking advantage of decades of digital growth in the Union.

The domestic market is served by a number of casual, fantasy, esports and real money online casino platforms and apps. The unforeseen growth of the past two (pandemic) years showed just how ready the industry and the user market are to gain global recognition. The growth of the online gamer base alone has already seen more investor interest than the previous decade.

The exciting times for Indian gaming are also enabled by a number of key technologies like affordable mobiles and widespread internet access. Online and in-app purchases of everyday services and consumer goods make buying an online lottery ticket just as normal as paying a utility bill. UPI payments and other fintech applications have changed the way of doing business in a previously cash-only market.

The critical mass of new technology, better connectivity and a healthy business ecosystem will almost inevitably see the gaming space become an important part of people’s social lives as well. The trend should see online and mobile gaming grow tenfold in the next three years, Mittersain believes.

Public Perception and Legal Climate Still Evolving

One cannot ignore the importance of formal regulation and public acceptance of the gaming phenomenon. Recent developments have seen policy makers repeatedly try to impose blanket bans and restrictions on gamers’ passions, only to see them repealed by High Courts around the country.

In early 2022, the Karnataka apex court struck down an amendment on the State’s Police act which saw all paid gaming outlawed. Similar legislative acts by Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telangana were blocked by regional High Courts.

As a result, Government officials have been rethinking their approach to online entertainment and games for stakes. Blanket bans have not proven an effective solution, as many players sought online alternatives offshore. Policy makers are now openly considering self-regulation for the sector, with some basic framework laws imposed on a Central level before that.

We may not have seen the end of state “paternalism” and heavy-handed bans but India’s online gaming industry is bullish about its chances to grow. The market has spoken and hundreds of tech startups around the Union are ready to prove their worth on the global stage, experts believe.