India is a huge market of over a billion people – and both crypto and gaming are just taking hold there.
India represents a giant market by any reckoning. As a country of 1.3 billion people, it’s a target for any sector. But once you appreciate that 400 million of these people are tech-savvy millennials with disposable income and reliable internet connections, you start to see what the appeal really is for online businesses. Given its demographics, it should come as no surprise that India is proving to be a rapidly-growing market for both mobile gaming and cryptocurrency – in the intersection of which sit initiatives like MobileGo.
The Indian games market
Gaming is a still-young but fast-growing phenomenon in India. The digital games market was worth $854 million in 2015. Mobile gaming accounted for 49% of that. However, mobile is rapidly increasing both its share of the overall market and its absolute number of gamers, as the gaming sector balloons in size. It’s also worth noting the popularity of free-to-play MMO games, at 21% of the market, and social network-based gaming at 16%. Bottom line, India is a lucrative market for gaming companies – and it’s just getting started.
If the gaming sector in India is driven by its millennial population, the same is true of crypto – with additional social factors that make the country the ideal place for the widespread adoption of digital cash. Over 230 million Indians, or almost a fifth of the population, don’t have bank accounts. There’s a strong cash economy, and a culture of cash transactions. However, in November last year the government caused chaos when it announced the ‘demonetisation’ of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, which accounted for some 86% of the currency notes in circulation. The idea was to combat the use of these relatively high-value notes in the black economy, but there were serious unintended consequences as many people kept large amounts of money in cash savings.
The incident was credited for prompting a surge in bitcoin awareness and adoption. It’s clear that anything that allows people to access money online with nothing but a smartphone, and to do so outside of government interference and the banking system, would be attractive in these circumstances. And India’s government is not against the idea. There are indications that the state is preparing to recognise and regulate crypto, treating it as real money.
India’s interest in gaming and crypto comes from the grassroots, without large corporations like Google and Apple driving it. Its growing middle class of relatively affluent, tech-savvy 18-35-year olds will continue to dominate the economy for some years, rather than being in decline, like China’s working-age population. These consumers are continuing to move their activities online, have more disposable income to spend on gaming and are taking an interest in new technologies like cryptocurrency. It’s the ideal market and opportunity for a project like MobileGo, which is why we’ve made significant efforts to connect with it.