20 April 2020
Online gaming - A lucrative segment for startups during covid-19

    With literally hours to spare, Indians have taken to spending their free time in online gaming apps when the entire country is shut down. This has led to a meteoric rise in the user base who are indulging in various multiplayer-based online games based in India.

    In these tough times, recreation through online gaming is serving as a brief respite to the people who are struggling to stay inside home. We all know how isolation is taking a toll on the mental health of people. People are trying to cope with it in various ways possible. From playing music from terraces and balconies to nose-diving into the world of social media trends- distant mode of socializing has taken our country by storm. But the only segment which takes the cake has to be online gaming, and Indian gaming startups are profiting from it. In this article, we are going to discuss the current phenomenon in the Indian startup ecosystem- online gaming.

    The phenomenon worldwide

    According to a Google-KPMG report, the online gaming sector will generate revenues pegged at $1.1 billion within 2021. Our country ranks among the top five when it comes to the mobile gaming market, comprising a whopping 300 million users in the financial year 2019-20. With the Coronavirus lockdown, this figure is projected to rise on a meteoric scale.

          Popular internationally-based multiplayer games like Houseparty and Psych are already raking up staggering amounts of users as it brings the best of both worlds- socializing and recreation, in one gaming application. It has also been reported that post-lockdown, the user base has reached to such an extent that these games are failing to provide uniform speed in their interface to all users.

    The upsurge of Indian gaming startups

    Back home, it appears that the Indian gaming startups are having a field day. The surge was facilitated just hours after a nationwide blanket lockdown was announced. There was an increase of at least 30-40 per cent in user traffic post the lockdown announcement. As the lockdown intensified, user traffic kept on growing at a humongous rate.

    Games like Ludo, Carrom and Snooker are gaining rapid popularity among people- thanks to a simple interface and the ability to connect with one’s friends with the help of the multiplayer “versus” option. Indian gaming startups like WinZo had to take help of other startup servers to keep their program stable for the rapidly increasing user base. Be it 18 or 35, people of all ages are indulging themselves in the world of online gaming. It has also witnessed a marginal increase of women traffic recently.

    Fintech startup giant Paytm is also investing in the world of online gaming. Their dedicated gaming department, Paytm First Games, witnessed an unbelievable 200 per cent increase in user traffic over the last month. Paytm First Games offer over hundred reputed titles including Ludo, Teen Patti, Rummy and Fantasy Cricket. In less than a week, 75,000 new years have cropped up using Paytm First Games.

          Both metropolitan and tier-two cities have contributed to the user pool of these online games. In an attempt to draw more users, attractive prizes and rewards are being announced- which will result in an expenditure of no less than Rs 10 crores for Paytm.


    It is now absolutely evident how some startups are utilising this current situation to their avail. While the startup ecosystem continues to face a serious extinction threat due to businesses being shut down across the nation- Indian gaming startups are leading the way to resurrection.

    COVID-19 might have put a lot of top-bracket startups into panic mode, but some are benefiting from it. It seems that all hope is not lost for the startup ecosystem.

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