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NEW DELHI : The pandemic has come as a massive boon for India’s gaming sector—the industry added more than 100 million Indian users over the past year, according to a new report by KPMG.

The number of online gamers grew from close to 300 million in 2019 to 433 million in FY20-21. Revenue too more than doubled from 6,200 crore in FY19-20 to 13,600 crore in FY20-21.

And while the limelight has been grabbed by real-money games like poker and rummy, and online fantasy sports companies like Dream11, the growth it seems has been led by casual games. The KPMG report said that revenue from casual games, which are targeted at mass audiences, amounted to 6,020 crore in the past financial year, while real-money and fantasy sports games recorded 4,980 crore and 2,430 crore revenue, respectively.

“India had the highest game downloads in the casual mobile gaming segment in the world (excluding China) in 2020 with Q1-Q32020 downloads standing at 7.3 billion accounting for 17% of the global mobile game downloads (approximately 43 billion, excluding China) during the same period," the report said.

The growth in Indian gaming has been well documented over the past year. In January, mobile gaming company Octro said its TeenPatti game saw an astonishing 800% growth last year and was being played by over 150 million players at the time. South Korea’s Krafton Inc. said its upcoming game Battlegrounds Mobile India received over 20 million registrations this month. Battlegrounds Mobile India is the replacement for popular battle royale game PUBG Mobile, which was banned in India last year. Registrations began on 6 May.

Growth is being driven by increasing smartphone and internet penetration, but the report noted that an increase in supply of world class gaming titles, localized content and new features have also helped. It said that the covid-driven lockdown last year was the “tipping point" for gaming in India.

However, while the overall online gaming segment did grow, most gamers in India still use mobile phones to play games. Mobile phones accounted for 94% of the user base in the country, with PC and console accounting for 9% and 4%, respectively.

“This is important because historically most of the gaming used to happen on laptops and PCs globally, whereas India has bypassed this generation," said Girish Menon, partner and head, media and entertainment, KPMG.

The report pegged the value of India’s online gaming segment at 13,600 crore, and said that it will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 21% to 29,000 crore, in the next five years.

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