Attention gamers in India, things are changing. It will take a bit more time but the direction is right. the Indian gaming scene is improving and gaining traction. We’re getting continual increase in interest from all big names in the industry. India is finally emerging as a viable market in gaming which simply points to one fact – people are taking us seriously now.
The other day I was invited to the launch of the Predator line of gaming hardware by Acer which includes two laptops which are amazing by the way, a very beautifully assembled cabinet, accessories and more to come in the future as per Mr. Chandrahas Panigrahi, Senior Director, Consumer Business, Acer India.
It’s not just Acer who’s pumping up their focus on the Gaming electronics niche in India though because ASUS launched the new Republic of Gamers (RoG) notebooks last November. “We’re going to talk about India seriously now. Hope people get as interested in RoG as much as you”, said Mr. Peter Chang, regional head at ASUS India in the short conversation I had with him.
This post is not about any of the two product series though, rather it is about the emerging Indian gaming scene. Gamers are becoming more focused toward mainstream gaming. Many have stepped over to legitimate gaming and are avoiding piracy, tournaments are being organised more frequently, gamer meets are happening all over the country, it’s almost like, things are changing. If you ask as Mr. Karthik Rao (NVIDIA India and an acquaintance) about the Indian gaming scene, his answer will always be something along the lines of “It will take time but it’s happening, you can see it all around you”. He also handles NVIDIA’s #GamerConnect meets and is in close touch with Team Brutality who did really well in the ESEA CS:GO League recently. So, it’s all moving forward as one cohesive movement.
People learn by example and this is what’s driving people to move toward a more serious form of gaming. If my recent interaction with some very interesting bloggers at the Predator launch is any evidence, gaming and politics are two totally normal and comparable topics for a group of people to have an educated discussion on which is something that I couldn’t have said even five years ago. It was still a much bigger taboo back then.
However, the community is still a bit separated across the country and though there is cohesion and unity at the upper levels, there is a bit of divide when you start to look at the lower levels. Then there’s the difference between the casual gamer and the serious gamer, both of whom are fine by themselves but most companies have always focused on the serious gamer. If you’re following and doing something seriously, you won’t have any issues spending a considerable amount of money on said activity but if you’re just casually engaging in it say, once a week, you won’t be investing on a very good gaming notebook or desktop which is where the gap actually starts to deepen. This disparity is why piracy isn’t going down as fast as it should and even though the DRM purge has helped control things a bit, there’s always the guy who downloads games from popular torrent sites.
Also, gaming hardware is expensive in itself. The new Predator, priced at 1,79,999 INR, is more than a year worth of savings for a simple employee earning a very nominal salary in India. The RoG and Alienware series are not far off that mark either. A decent gaming rig, even if it’s assembled by a gamer costs somewhere around 70,000 INR to 1,00,000 INR. Therefore, the idea of gaming while having an immersive experience is still a virtual one since very few people actually own a decent rig to play games and experience them in a way that makes the whole thing worth it.
However, as I mentioned earlier, things are changing. Gaming hardware might go cheaper in the next few years, like everything. I don’t have any numbers that I’ve crunched for the above, it’s just optimistic speculation but I still stand by it. Things are looking good – we’re already getting to talk about gaming freely and the interest will only increase. Companies are already looking at India as a viable market though it is obviously far less profitable for them right now than markets in countries like the USA. It might take a few more years or so but the day where the Indian gaming scene is at par with international standards doesn’t appear that far off anymore.