Lumikai Founding GP, Salone Sehgal was invited by The One Percent Project. Salone chats with the host, Pritish Sanyal, discussing the history of gaming, the cultural impact gaming has, the rise of the Indian female gamer, and the unit economics of the gaming industry.
Gaming is a form of entertainment and a training ground for critical skills and qualities that can contribute to success in the tech industry. It fosters agency, collaboration, strategic thinking, and cognitive abilities. It also hones social and collaboration skills and is considered a net positive activity for personal development. Many prominent tech leaders, including Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Stuart Butterfield, of FANG, have a background as gamers.
Gaming has gone through a profound transformation, expanding from its early demographic of young males to becoming a universally embraced form of entertainment. The evolution is a testament to the gaming industry's adaptability and ability to break down barriers of access/paywalls/stereotypes, making gaming accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Indian gamers have unique sociological and behavioural characteristics distinct from those of their Western counterparts. Indian gamers tend to be social, and remarkably, almost 40% of Indian gamers are women, which is a demographic evolution distinct from the West. Gaming in the West started as a predominantly male-oriented activity and later embraced female gamers, whereas, in India, it is a more balanced position in terms of gender diversity.
Technology and infrastructure played a key role in shaping the gaming landscape in India. The rapid growth of data availability, driven by the rise of Jio and a 93% reduction in data prices, has made gaming more accessible to a broader audience. Additionally, the rise of digital payments has facilitated monetization within the gaming ecosystem. Events like the COVID-19 pandemic have further accelerated this transformation.
In the gaming industry, revenue generation revolves around three primary sources: Firstly, there are in-app purchases, which include in-game items or cosmetic enhancements. These in-app purchases constitute a major driver of revenue for games. Secondly, advertising revenue plays a significant role, with developers incorporating advertisements into gameplay to generate income. Lastly, subscription-based revenue models, such as game and battle passes, are gaining traction. In India, real-money gaming has also seen popularity as a means of monetization.
The metaverse concept is complex and has undergone various interpretations and hype cycles. Defining what the metaverse truly means and developing the technology to support it are ongoing challenges. While virtual worlds, digital currencies, and asset ownership have existed in gaming for some time, achieving an interoperable and persistent Metaverse is still years away.