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NEW DELHI: Online gaming has transcended the perception of being an entertainment activity, with users saying it helps them earn money and develop life skills, as per a recent report from All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) released on Thursday.

According to the study, conducted on more than 2,400 Indians between 18 and 44 years who play online games, about 26% respondents said online games act as stress busters while 24% see it as a way to earn money and 13% believe that online gaming can teach important skills and improve cognitive ability.

About one in every four gamers thought that online gaming can be taken up as a profession and this reflects the shift in the industry currently. Lockdowns and social distancing during the past year saw an increasing number of people turn their passion for gaming into a full-time career. According to the findings, a professional gamer, signed up with an esports company, can earn Rs5,000-45,000 per month. Gaming tournaments can fetch an individual or a team prize money which can be as high as Rs4.5 lakh.

“Varied skills like critical thinking, creative thinking, decision making and problem-solving are essential for one's growth in life. Through this research, we sought to understand whether consumers genuinely realise the value of mobile gaming. This study has helped us conclude that gaming is a way to collaborate, engage, and it is becoming a sector where people want to build their careers," said Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation.

Around 76% of gamers believed that by regularly assessing the best way to win a game, they develop strong analytical skills. More than half (57%) felt that an individual could hone practical life skills with online games the same way they would through a whole day at the workplace — 57% men and 56% women agreed with this sentiment.

While 40% of men believe that more than half of online gaming skills are useful to real-life experiences the number drops to 34% for women.

Interestingly, gamers also revealed that they exhibited a more favourable attitude towards their online gaming teammates in comparison to their real-life work relationships. 56% gamers said they were more likely to be honest with their gaming teammates than with their work colleagues (51%). The difference was more pronounced among Gen Z (5%) versus those above the age of 45 (2%).

Majority of respondents (70%) claimed that mobile phone is the device of choice for playing online games with gaming increasingly being seen as a source of income by both casual and professional gamers.

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