Mobile Gaming in India – Statistics and Source of Consumption [Market Report]

[Guest article contributed by Vital Analytics, Bangalore based market research firm focused on telecom space.]

Though mobile gaming in India is still in its nascence (SMS still constitutes the largest chunk of the VAS pie, mobile gaming is approximately 1%) With the onset of 3G, the mobile gaming industry, which is currently pegged at Rs 100 crore, is estimated to grow by up to 200% by the next financial year, say industry experts. Today variety of games are available and many games are offered for free downloads, making games very popular among the mobile users.

Statistics and frequency of playing games

Let us take a look at some real statistics on mobile games. Based on data gathered in April 2009 for Feb/March mobile game users it is found that approx 30 million urban Indians use their mobile phones to play games on a daily basis (12.5%). The Indian gaming industry though at its cusp, is showing huge potential in sheer market size. Looking at data in the February- March 2009 time frame there were a total of 105 million Indian consumers playing games on their mobile phone, of this 30 million consumers played games on their cell phone almost daily.

Mobile Gaming report: “frequency of playing games”

(Two month ended March 2009, Urban Indian Mobile Phone Users)

Frequency of playing gamesUnique Users (Millions)
Played 1 to 3 times in last month46.0220
At least once a week28.5380
Almost daily30.4700

[Feb/March 2009 statistics on mobile gaming]
Nokia continues its dominance in Indian mobile space accounting for 65% of power user’s handset followed by Sony Ericsson a distant second (10.6%).

Source of game(s)

There are several mobile game providers in India today. Some data was gathered, considering the most popular games providers. It is observed , 8.92 million Urban Indian purchased game(s) for their phone in February/March 2009 .

As seen in graph , it can be noticed, service provider is the most popular source for purchasing game(s) with 3.59 million urban Indians citing purchasing one from them followed by Rediff (1.87 million), Hungama.com (1.51 million) and zapak.com (1.40 million). Among service providers Bharti Airtel is the most cited source accounting for almost 40% of purchasers.

Popular mobile games purchase source

Popular mobile games purchase source

Downloading games for free vs. purchasing continues to enjoy a 2.25:1 ratio with 85% of power users who downloaded a game (8.83 million) citing downloading for free while 37% did so by paying a fee. “Though free game downloads dominated, looking at the table below, service providers seem to have got their model right with more consumers purchasing games from a service provider website than downloading for free (1.29:1 ratio). On the other hand, third party providers see a complete inverse ratio on purchased v/s free downloads.

SourcePurchased (millions)Free (millions)Purchased : Free
Service Provider2.38101.83801.29 : 1
Indiagames0.58502.27000.25 : 1
Rediff0.99101.63100.60 : 1
Zapak0.77202.55800.30 : 1
Hungama0.97901.39000.70 : 1
Mauj0.45701.01200.45 : 1

Almost 40% of power users are between the ages of 25 and 34 while an additional 35% are between 18 and 24 years old.

The ever growing youth subscriber base in India is going to contribute significantly to the growth of mobile gaming in India. This coupled with Handset manufacturer’s re-evaluating their strategy (Nokia for e.g recently announced the overhaul of its India strategy positioning itself as a complete solution provider, LG is pushing out low cost motion sensor gaming handsets) is going to see a huge contribution from this section to the overall VAS pie.

Update:

Owing to some of the comments raised, Vital Analytics team has shared the methodology of collecting data:


We would like to clarify the numbers mentioned. Firstly the number “Rs. 100 Crore” is per the article on The Financial Express, March 30th 2009,” Onset of 3G may trigger boost in mobile gaming market” (http://www.financialexpress.com/news/onset-of-3g-may-trigger-boost-in-mobile-gaming-market/440489/). Reason we used the March number cited here was that the data mentioned is for the period of Feb and March 2009.

Secondly we apologize as there is a Labeling error; the numbers for “source of download” table are “power gamers” (people who play games on their mobile phones, almost on a daily basis). If we look at all the mobile gamers who downloaded a game on their phone (for Free or Purchased), India Games is one of the top 5 sources, where 8.42M URBAN INDIANS use the site for downloading a game (free or purchased) on their phones

This data was collected over a period of two months, February to March 2009 by interviewing 3,883 adult urban Indians (people living in urban India owning a mobile phone). We use this data to project to Urban Indian population, listed below are the source of benchmarks for our projections:

– Cellular Operator Association of India (www.coai.com)/Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (www.auspi.in)

– India census (http://censusindia.gov.in/)

– ORG MARG Report

– Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

Rural subscriber numbers for Q1, 2009 are our estimation based on rural subscriber growth in 2008 as TRAI is behind by one quarter.

Our projected data as you look at service provider level (below) for Urban India is 99% accurate:

Wireless GroupTRAIVAVariance
Bharti23.5%22.9%0.6%
Reliance19.3%20.1%-0.8%
Vodafone16.4%17.5%-1.1%
BSNL11.8%10.5%1.3%
Idea8.9%9.6%-0.6%
Tata11.7%11.6%0.0%
Aircel4.3%3.9%0.4%
MTNL1.7%1.7%0.0%
Spice1.3%1.4%-0.1%
BPL0.8%0.9%-0.1%

The data is self-reported, where we asked users to tell us what they did in last 30 days and thus is based on their perceptions.

What’s your opinion on the report?

Also see:  Mobile VAS subscribers in India – Insights/Prediction

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