By : Mr. Vivek Singh, Co-Founder, Stick Pool Club
The COVID-19 induced lockdown may have hit business sectors across the world, but the widespread adoption of digitization has resulted in the emergence of new sectors. Online gaming being one of the most booming sectors has seen a tremendous surge in its user base. Even though there are multiple sources of entertainment – television, videos, web series, and others, the online gaming industry has triggered higher engagement.
The number of COVID-19 cases are continuing to spread and the restrictions on social distancing have not been lifted yet. To combat boredom, stress, and isolation occurred due to the pandemic lockdown, people are betting on real money games – out of which, online poker has been one of the topmost preferences among the users. The online poker industry in India was already on its growth trajectory, but now it has burgeoned like never before.
The previous year has been positive for the growth of the online gaming industry in India. It has seen remarkable growth due to innovative revenue models – in-app purchases, real money gaming in online poker, rummy, etc. According to the statistics of KPMG, the Indian online gaming industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22% by 2023. This opens up a myriad of avenues for online poker to thrive in the market.
Number of active internet users
The COVID-19 pandemic has potentially accelerated digital adoption in India. This has directly impacted the overall growth of the online gaming industry. New and affordable smartphones have dominated the market that is continuing to attract an untapped user base in the country. Presently, India has over 560 million internet users and it has been estimated to reach up to 650 million by 2023. The surge in the number of active internet users is also the result of affordable mobile data packs being offered by multiple telecom operators. This has pushed the number of online poker players in India and is continuing to rise even after the lockdown.
Accessibility of mobile gaming
The advancement in technology has transformed the way games are being played. Previously, gaming consoles and PCs were offering offline gaming experience. However, the easy accessibility of mobile phones has replaced traditional gaming devices and shifted the user base to smartphones to play in a more comfortable zone. The portability, affordability, and robust configuration of smartphones has increased the user base of online poker gaming in the country. During the pandemic closure and social distancing era, smartphones are enabling the users to find ease in acquiring real-time and real money gaming experience through online poker.
Ease in digital payment methods
There is a steep surge in the adoption of digital channels for making payments during the pandemic closure. The adoption of digital payment methods is estimated to rise by 300 million users by 2022. Due to the stay at home orders, people who were not familiar with making online payments are enforced to use digital payment options. Furthermore, online gaming companies are using innovative methods that involve real money tournaments or in-app purchases to increase user engagement. Thus, the ease and security in online payments are widely catering to the needs of the users playing on real money.
Market of millennials
This is one of the significant factors driving the growth of the online poker gaming industry. India is the market of the young population with 75% of them being under the age of 45. This contributes to the online gaming industry at large volumes and makes it one of the biggest potential markets in the country. The younger population of India is passionate about playing games on their smartphones, especially that provides real-world experience. This creates a big space for the online poker gaming industry to propel and continue to capture the interest of the audience by offering them an opportunity to earn.
With companies coming up with revolutionary concepts in online poker gaming, the trend is moving on an upward growth path with great prospects. Several companies are integrating interactive features and formats to drive user engagement. They are transforming monotonous gaming experience into a real-world opportunity that is predicted to acquire more users and stay even after the COVID-19 subdues.