One thing for sure, India is a very exciting place at the moment, and let me give you 5 reasons why.
#1 India is no longer primarily the service studio of the world
Over the past decade, Indian studios primarily focused on supporting companies through outsourcing, porting, and managing live operations for industry giants like Gameloft, Zynga, Ubisoft, Glu, EA, and formerly GSN, now under Scopely.
During this period, Indian studios honed their skills, particularly in product management, tech, art, and excelled in orchestrating large-scale live games.
Many seasoned leaders have reached a point where they aspire to create their own games and studios, intending to share India's untold stories with the world.
In Bangalore, newly established studios like Gigafun, Stellarplay or Mayhem Studios boast former talents from EA and Zynga driven by a heightened ambition to craft the next hit game either from or for India.
Another wave of founders are former executives from thriving Indian game companies. For instance, June Gaming’s co-founders Roby John moved on to build Supergaming, while Avinash Pandey started Lila Games with Joseph Kim.
#2 India Gaming (R-)Evolution
Indian society is undergoing rapid growth in terms of consumption levels, and therefore is going through a gaming revolution.
Examining the progress made in medicine and health over the past decade, society is ascending, gaining access to education, increasing disposable income, and subsequently seeking outlets to spend that surplus—be it in entertainment (such as games and mobile content) or consumption.
As reported in Lumikai's latest report, India is home to 568 million gamers, of which 25% are paying users. The growth in paying users has seen an increase of 17% YoY.
With 15.4 billion downloads in FY23, India retained its position as one of the top countries globally for mobile game downloads.
Niko Partners reports India to be the fastest growing market after China. For further insights, check this IGDC Talk “Emerging Force The rise of India's video game market” here.
Another noteworthy development is the emergence of mobile shooter players from India, primarily among the younger generation actively engaged in esports. That’s why you see a lot of local excitement for the new mobile shooter studios funded (Mayhem Studios, Lila Games, Supergamning).
On the side of investment, we're also witnessing the rise of gaming funds with a dedicated focus on India as Lumikai or Ventana Ventures, alongside global players like Krafton, Nazara, Epic Games, Scopely, Mixi, Garena or Sony actively seeking future studios in India for funding or acquisition.
For instance, Sony PlayStation launched their latest initiative India Hero Project, and Google India Accelerator Program incubates early stage companies every year (Bombay Play was part of that program, before being funded).
#3 Bringing India To The World
In numerous conversations with local studios there, I've observed a common motivation among the new generation of Indian founders: the ambition to share India's untold stories with the world.
With their own and unique interpretation of India.
Because India is not just one country but a vast and diverse country, which encompasses important nuances that some of us in the West can’t fully comprehend from distance.
Additionally, examining the trend of Indian content's popularity on other media platforms, such as the immense success of Bollywood movies, Indian founders foresee a similar demand for drama and cultural content in the gaming sphere. That’s the bet. And I am looking forward to playing this era of games with diverse stories!
A company that particularly caught my attention is Supergaming, notably with their new game 'Indus,' aiming to introduce Indo-Futurism into the realm of mobile shooter games. You can learn more about their game (IGDC talk) HERE.
#4 People Before Business
Being myself from an Asian background, spending time in India was a heartening and familiar experience, reconnecting me with my core Vietnamese roots. I didn’t expect I would feel such a strong sense of belonging there.
In Asia and particularly in India, trust is established through relationships.
Therefore, establishing relationships precedes business. There are no shortcuts; being present and meeting people on-site are essential if you want to do business with Indian companies.
Another observation I had is that building teams and companies is rooted in fostering strong connections, and friendship. I've encountered incredibly inspiring founders and companies that prioritize their players and team, upholding their values and principles around collaboration first.
This is why I'm deeply passionate about featuring profiles of these rising studios on the Rise and Play podcast—as other examples of great leadership.
#5 Love From India
At last, I want to share my key personal highlights from India.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So, let that image capture the essence of my best moments in India.
I’ll be back 😎!
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