Within a very short space of time, India has truly become a nation of gamers. Last year, in 2021, over half of the country’s total number of internet users had played online games. All in all, that number was around 433 million, which represented 35% of the total Indian population.  

Meanwhile, industry experts predicted that by the end of 2023 the total number of Indian internet users would reach over one billion, with gaming audiences growing to a phenomenal 657 million players.  

With India now well established as one of the top countries for online gaming in the world, what are the market segments that have played such a fundamental role in the development of gaming across the country?  

Online Gaming  

The online gaming market is a true 21st-century tech success story. Encompassing a whole swathe of interactive games, including real money gaming, casual games and fantasy sports, the remote gaming sector has grown at a phenomenal rate. While the market size of the industry has surpassed the equivalent of the $79 billion mark – according to Inc42 – it’s all set to grow to as much as $182 billion over the next three and a half years.  

In addition, the market is also seeing a substantial number of international games developers setting up shop in India, which is pouring additional funding into the country. From 2014 to 2021, just under $3 billion was raised in start-up funding for gaming companies.  

The drivers accelerating the growth of online gaming across the country can be found in India’s growing digital infrastructure. Over the past few years, internet connections have improved in quality and affordability, giving more and more players access to digital and remote games.  

We can also find the keys to growth in the versatility and accessibility of the games that fall under the online gaming genre. Take online poker, a game that has become universally popular since the mid-2010s.  

It’s clear that the surging popularity of online poker has been thanks to its accessibility. Poker is a complex game that requires time at the table to master it – even if poker rules themselves aren’t necessarily complex. Getting to grips with the game online allows consumers to learn at their own pace. Meanwhile, the array of remote poker options that are available, including everything from tournaments to play-money games, appeals to a broad demographic of residents.  

Gaming on the Go 

In India, as across the rest of the world, the mobile market is the most dominant in terms of value and popularity. In 2021, the mobile gaming sector emerged as the biggest player in the gaming industry, accounting for 52% of global revenues ($93.2 billion).  

This growth has been reflected in the 40% surge of mobile gamers that are now part of the Indian gaming audience. With over 300 million gamers in India, mobile is undoubtedly responsible for the lion’s share.  

The market has expanded year-on-year since 2019, driven largely by the proliferation of affordable yet powerful gaming smartphones across the country, and 2021 was the best year yet. Last year saw a 22% increase in the adoption of mobile gaming apps, itself a figure that will likely be topped this year. 


Completing the triad of emerging gaming markets is eSports, or professional competitive video gaming. India possesses one of the largest eSports markets in Asia, currently standing at 3 billion INR and likely to reach 100 billion INR by 2025 (EY India)

Although, on a grassroots level, eSports in India is typically mobile-first, with titles like Battlegrounds Mobile India and COD Mobile proving to be major hits with aspiring pro gamers, PC and console gaming is still having an impact.  

Recently, two Indian eSports teams have successfully made it through qualifiers for the 2022 Commonwealth Esports Championships, taking place in Birmingham, UK, this August. India’s Rocket League emerged from the South Asian regional qualifiers with all three matches under their belt. At the same time, the DOTA2 team finished up in second place, giving them an entry to the Commonwealth Championships.   



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