Rising up - How Women are Boosting the Growth of India's Video Games Industry

Experts Column

In recent years, it’s been pleasing to see that India’s thriving video game industry has been on the rise. Over the past decade or so, we’ve seen more people engage with games in ways they never would have before – but, more importantly, we’ve also seen a vast change in the number of women now involved in the games industry too.

India is emergingas one of the largest global markets for games, there’s no denying that, but many still feel it’s being dominated by a male audience; however, this is untrue. More women are playing a key role in not only engaging with video games and the games industry but also stepping into it as a full-time career, breaking down barriers of stereotypes and notions of the past few decades regarding one of the most influential markets in the world.

Women are rising up in India’svideo games industry, and here’s how they’re doing it.

Playing a key role in a billion-dollar industry

Overall, we expect to see the Indian video games industry grow to around $2 billion by 2023, so say the statistics from EY’s recent report, which is then estimated to double in value by 2026. There are several contributing factors to this; the most obvious being an increase in interest in video games from multiple age groups, especially the younger generation – and the accessibility of online console and PC games to more countries than ever before, including right here in India.

But women’s contribution to the video games industry in recent years has also helped in the market’s growth. We heard at the Indian Gaming Summit last year how experts have highlighted that the female population has helped give the country amuch-needed boost, with more women taking an interest in games from both a casual and professional capacity – whether it is asgamers, developers, entrepreneurs, or professionals.

The number of female gamers continues to rise

Although they are not the majority, female gamers are closing the gap on their counterparts when it comes to overall representation. Back in 2021, research into mobile gaming showed that 43% of India’s player base was women, with around 52% of those gamers residing in metropolitan cities.

For a country that some would say has been ‘behind the curve’ when it comes to gaming, it’s now an industry that is gaining popularity among women – regardless of stereotypical issues such as marital status, age, or location.

We are starting to see more committed female gamers spending a considerable amount of time playing games, which has also openedmore opportunities for online streaming and community building for a minority of players. The likes of Monika ‘Sherlock’Jeph, Shagufta‘Xyaa’ Iqbal, Pooja Khatri, and Saloni‘Meow16k’ Panwar, are just some of the renowned Indian female gamerswho have gained popularity due to their serious commitment to the field of gaming.

These gaming content creators and streamers have a combined following of over 1.2 million on YouTube alone, and as the industry becomes more appealing to a female audience; you can expect to see this number grow significantly over the next few years.

The importance of women's participation in the industry

There has been a global push for diversity across many industries in recent years, and the video games industry is no different. Building welcoming communities and ensuring everyone feels able to take part is at the forefront of many companies, and that includes Sumo India.

Ensuring the industry appeals to all genders will no doubt help pave the way to attracting more women gamers, entrepreneurs and potential audiences worldwide.But how can we influence this virtually? Well for starters, a better representation of women in games is needed, dismantling the stereotypes of howmany female charactershave been presented to the world, ensuring that the audience feels valued and represented correctly.

From a physical and professional standpoint, video game studios must also make more of an effort to hire women into their teams to ensure that the ratio to men is cut dramatically. There are so many incredible opportunities for women in the games industry – not just in coding and design – but in prominent roles in the likes ofmarketing, PR and communications, HR, recruitment and much more.

Summing up the bigger picture

As the popularity of mainstream gaming continues to rise in India, so too must the desire to make women and minority groups a large part of the overall picture. There are still major challenges to overcome to achieve this, but with the progress made so far in India, the future is looking bright.

Women are transforming the landscape and are increasingly being a part of this growing market – whether it is through their passion forcommittedgaming, landing key roleswithinIndia’s gaming studios, or launching their own gaming related ventures.

We at Sumo India are committed to helping this growth where possible, which is why we’ve hired women that are talented and passionateabout the industry – but there is still work to be done and more that we can do. Both our Pune and Bangalore studios will benefit from this in the long run, and we hope to inspire not only more womento join the industry and hopefully Sumo India’s successful studios, but also prompt other video game companies to focus their attention on the same goals.

Gaming is on the riseand so is women’s participation in the industry, and that’s a pretty exciting prospect for India.