E-sports: Gaming hit the jackpot during Covid-19 lockdown

A recent Nielsen report states that Indians' smartphone use has increased 9% compared to pre-lockdown time of 3 hours 40 minutes per day.

By Deepasekhar Chaudhary

As the Covid-19 epidemic forces people to stay indoors, consumption on digital media platforms has increased. Not only streaming platforms, gaming platforms have also seen an increase of users and an increase in the amount of time consumers spend on such platforms.

A recent Nielsen report states that Indians’ smartphone use has increased 9% compared to pre-lockdown time of 3 hours 40 minutes per day. As a result, there has been a crazy rush among social networking sites, OTT streaming platforms, online chat applications to get a share of this boom. The gaming platform appears to be a clear winner as the time spent on them has increased from 22% to 30%, as the share of social networking remained flat during the period. Interestingly, the report noted that the time spent by older women on gaming platforms (55%) has increased more than the average smartphone user (49%) in the last 5-6 weeks.

Manish Agarwal, CEO of Najara Technologies, a Mumbai-headquartered company that invests in the gaming ecosystem, says, “We believe this is the moment when Indians will really become gamers and gaming penetration will enter even more, Resulting in over 100 million new gamers in India over the next 60 days. He says that virtual sports have been discontinued due to the postponement of the Indian Premier League and real world sporting events. Nazara saw a 20% increase in time spent on its network platforms during the first few weeks of lockdown, and a five-fold increase in in-app purchases (IAP) during the period. IAP is an important source of revenue for gaming platforms.

Sudhanshu Gupta, COO, Paytm First Games says, “We have registered a 200% increase in our user base in the last one month. Our app sees over half a million active gamers daily on platforms spending 30 to 45 minutes. Over the past several weeks, more than 75,000 new users have joined our platform each day. ”

The lockdown has also given rise to interesting demographic trends and behavioral markers. Saumya Singh Rathore, co-founder of WinZO Games, says, “The peak hours for gaming at WinZO have changed from 11 am to 5 pm, which was earlier from 7 to 11 pm. Our concurrent users are increasing by 30% -40% day by day. About 60% of users on WinZO are 18 to 25 years old, mostly male. However, among lockdowns, there has been an increase in users aged 25–35 years. WinZO is also attracting players from the Tier 1 regions, even though its target group is the Tier 3-5 demographic, with 20% of this non-metro audience paying their first digital media and entertainment on WinZO.

Another beneficiary has been Rain Games. Its weekly active cash users increased by 80% by the end of March. Vaibhav Gupta, Co-founder and CEO, Raine Games, says, “This growth is organic and has not increased our marketing budget since we did due to the improved performance of paid campaigns.” The time per active cash user for its active game Real 8 Ball Pool has also increased by 50% to about three hours.

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