A significant rise in the number of online gamers was reported in India’s tier-3 cities and towns, according to the India Mobile Gaming Report 2021 (IMGR) by Mobile Premier League (MPL), an esports and skill gaming platform. The top 30 of them reported an escalation upto 170% more gamers in comparison to the previous year. The smaller towns witnessed double the growth of online gamers in a year.
Siwan (Bihar), Baimanagoi (Chattisgarh) and Sri Ganganagar (Rajasthan) witnessed 123%, 179% and 52% growth in the numbers while small cities such as Alwar (Rajasthan), Muzaffarpur (Bihar), Dhanbad (Jharkhand), Palanpur ( Gujarat) saw a climb in the number of newbies to online gaming. It is interesting to note that although these cities and towns lack a proper established gaming infrastructure, the growth in these locations are quite impressive.
As per IMGR 2021, among some of the top games that were played across various cities were Carrom, Fruit Dart, Fruit Chop, Runner No.1 and Block Puzzle.
Chess, popularized by the Youtube community, in addition to esports like pool also noticed a sharp rise in numbers. MPL alone reported over 1,3 million gamers in 2021. While nearly half a million games were played on the platform, it recorded 17 million live viewership.
One of the reasons for the surge is because of the rapid accessibility and affordability of smartphones coupled with high speed internet provided them a perfect tool and platform to enjoy gaming. Moreover, mobile gaming platforms have opened doors to various access skill based games and tournaments taking place in all corners of the country.
In a report by The Times of India, Consultancy firm EY has predicted for the Indian domestic market to grow from $906 million in 2019 to more than $2 billion in 2023 representing a CAGR of nearly 22%. This will result in an exponential growth in the Indian market and become a meaningful contributor globally. The EY report further elaborated that online gamers in India are estimated to grow from 360 million in 2020 to 510 million in 2022, 85% of the users being mobile gamers.