Experts Column

Women in gaming: How the industry in India can boom in the next few years

According to recent research by KPMG, the Indian gaming sector is witnessing significant growth, reporting profits of $544 million since August 2020. The same report estimated its reach to be INR 169 billion by 2025, from just 60 billion in 2021. The speed of the sector in India can be attributed to the advancements in technology and the rise in the adoption of the internet due to pandemic-induced lockdowns. The KPMG’s media and entertainment report also state that the gaming userbase surpassed 365 million in March 2020.

While the industry is traditionally seen to be a male-dominated sector,  there is steady growth in women breaking into gaming, and a greater acceptance of gaming as a career.

What is the landscape of women in the gaming sector?

In a study by Google and Niko Partners, females in Asia (including India) make up 40 to 45 per cent of the Asian gaming population, which in turn accounts for 48 per cent of the world’s total gaming revenue. Last year, women accounted for approximately 41 per cent of all gamers in the US and the number of female players is gradually increasing in the country. Several reports have been commissioned to look at distinctive motives and gameplay behaviours with some country-based studies noting that gaming motivations differ across genders. The female gamers of Taiwan and America play for achievement, to engage socially and maintain relationships, whereas men play to pass their time. French men play games to help deal with anxiety and to achieve success through competition; whilst women gamers from France play to challenge themselves in addition to escapism. Women gamers play all genres but in particular online games using mobile phones because of low investment and easy access.

Essentially, all the reports highlight the rich diversity of the female gaming population. Within the gaming industry, females looking for equal opportunities are highlighting issues around whether the sector is sufficiently structured and educated to serve this growing sector. Several companies are advocating for a reexamining and redefining of the gaming business, free from gender discrimination.

A large number of women are now completing their education in the gaming sector and things are progressively improving in the corporate world with women paving the way for other women within the industry. The rise in women in senior positions at gaming organizations has furthermore inspired women to gain not just executive-level positions, but high-level development roles also. Moreover, other critical changes are taking place owing to CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives.

The bottom line

It’s about time that game developers take women gamers more seriously as they will fuel the sector’s development in the coming years. As the gaming industry gradually booms, the Government of India is playing a more dynamic role in facilitating and regulating the industry. Niti Aayog, the public policy think tank of the government, distributed its first draft rules proposed for the conduct and regulation of fantasy sports and witnessed that the segment could draw in FDI inflows of $1 billion in the forthcoming years. The Government of India is paving the way for industry and academia to create career paths in gaming and to develop a considerable pool of talent in the sector. Additionally, it is refreshing to see that many gaming studios are also trading traditionally male-dominated games for ones featuring women in a leading role.