Casual Internet Gamers In India

‘Casual Internet Gaming in India’ is the area of dissertation which will be researched. A phenomenon relatively new to the world, casual internet gaming is an area which is yet to be researched and fully understood. Computer gaming is an area close to my heart, as well as an exciting and challenging field to work on, where the markets are still evolving and promising great potential in the near future.

Electronic gaming itself is a very wide subject which hasn’t been properly researched, especially in India. Internet gaming is a subset to it, but again an area so vast that it can’t be covered in one research. Going down further, I chose casual internet gaming because of the following reasons-

Casual gaming is by far the most popular mode of gaming on internet in India. Internet speeds in India allows only casual gaming to grow currently. Social media is proving to be an ideal platform for their growth

No research on this topic has been done so far. We are yet to understand why people and Indians in particular are attracted towards casual gaming.

Till now, Indian Marketers have not taken a consumer-centric approach to make and deliver casual games.

There is great scope in the field, as Indians ‘discover’ casual gaming and get hooked on to it through various platforms

According to a recent study by JuxtConsult , Of the 47 million Internet users, 39 million are based in urban areas, while only 8 million reside in the rural. Hence Internet penetration is largely limited in India and speeds are still slow. In such a scenario, the only games that can work well are casual games because they don’t need high end computer/gaming systems, nor are the speed requirements a constraint. In fact, being the only mode of gaming which is viable, it has been the focus of the gaming industry as well. From dedicated websites like zapak to integration of casual games to social media networks like facebook, casual games are available across the internet. The surprising part is that no one has really tried to understand the reason for their popularity or the potential profitability of these games.

The growth of India's casual games market comes in line with the overall growth of the country's games market and industry. According to founder of CasualGaming.biz, Gaurav Mirchandani the industry has changed substantially over the past few due to the growth of internet users in India whom now have broadband access in their homes, at work, and in restaurants and hotels. This change has sparked a new emergence of casual gaming in India as a leisure and as lead to new small companies setting up offices for game development outsourcing mostly for flash and PC downloadable games.

The Industry focus has been on delivering casual games across platforms to the maximum possible user base. However, no thought has been given to the consumer and their needs. The Industry lacks a consumer-centric focus in game development and delivery. A deeper understanding of why these games are being played, and by whom they are being played is necessary to improve the standards and profitability of casual gaming as a business.

As the world moves towards the virtual avenues provided by the technological revolution, internet gaming assumes significance as the next major frontier of the world. Brands are already investing in this area and can really cash on into this profitable business. Internet now provides people the choice of playing with other individuals over the cyber space. The constant advances in technology open up new possibilities regularly, taking ‘computer gaming’ to new heights each time.

Hence, the objective of the research will be to understand the psyche of the Indian casual gamer. This will help the Indian gaming industry understand the consumers better and hence deliver better products to them. Not only that, it will also help them improve the profitability of the business, by understanding what is relevant to the gamers, and what is not.

This will be an exploratory study into the realm of casual gaming in India. Given the time constraints of a dissertation, I will be able to focus on limited aspects of casual gaming. Hence I am choosing only those aspects of the area, like why do gamers behave as they do and where and when they play games, which are important both for the Industry and the academia. Again due to the time constraints and vastness of the topic, everything cannot be covered in one research. Hence a study on the college-going gamers will be conducted.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Very little literature is available on consumers of Casual Gaming in India. I studied the gaming industry in general to find references to casual and internet gaming, especially in the Indian context.

Gaming: India is All Set!

-Rao, K. Rajesh

(rajesh, 2008)

Prospects for Animation & Gaming Industry in India.

-Kuruvila, A. O.

(A.O, 2008)

(Computer gaming on the go in India, 2004)

India: The Final Frontier for Games?

(Silicon india, 2008)

Zapak Taking Casual Games seriously!

(Vimali, 2008)

Casual Gaming A Big Draw for VCs.

(Khanna, 2008)

Games people play

(Marketing Management, 2007)

Casual video gaming is now serious business

(2007)

Casual Computer Games Go Upscale

(2007)

Nothing casual about it

- Rajiv Fernando 2009

The article presents the author's views concerning the development of the gaming industry in India. He relates that the new generation is characterized by the evolution of interactive digital content and distributed model of games services. The author perceives good opportunities for game developers and providers associated with the increase of Internet penetration and digital content.

The article starts off with a preface of the Global and Indian gaming and animation industry and goes on to dwell upon the statistics of the industry in India. It then follows up with a SWOT analysis of the Indian gaming Industry

Reports on the report released by British Broadcasting Corp. in 2005 regarding the mobile gaming market segment in India. Increase in the number of mobile phone users in October 2004; Factors that influenced the growth in the mobile gaming sector; Number of game developers and mobile companies that provide games to their subscribers.

The article provides an overview of the computer games industry worldwide, particularly in India. It explains the technology trends that might influence the advent of these games including powerful cellular telephones, cloud gaming and the growth of broadband networks. A historical background on the emergence of these electronic games is also presented.

The article discusses the success of the online games introduced by Zapak Digital Entertainment in India. Zapak is influential to the success of the gaming industry through the launching of massive multiplayer online games (MMOGs), hardcore games and large format gaming cafées. The company's strategies in creating value chain for its customers and distribution network are mentioned.

The article presents the views of the author on various issues related to the electronic games industry in India. It focuses on the casual gaming business. The author addresses the problems on piracy and financing animation and gaming projects in the country. Future opportunities for the casual gaming space are also cited.

The article discusses conflicting studies concerning the target audience for casual games. A study by Information Solutions Group found that casual gamers are predominately female. In-game advertisement firm Eyeblaster backed this data up, claiming that the majority of casual gamers are females that are more than thirty years old. However, a study by Ipsos Insight showed that more than half of computer and video gamers are male, data that is backed up by a Universal McCann study about console gamers.

The article reports on the growing competition among firms in the video games industry in New York City. According to IDC Research, revenues from casual video games are expected to increase by 68 percent to $750 million in 2007 and are forecasted to reach $2 million by 2009. Wade Tinney, co-founder of Large Animal Games, said that it is important for firms in the industry to be well-funded so that they can move quickly and make products that compete with those with other companies.

The article talks about the demographics of casual gamers worldwide according to the various studies that have been conducted. It also talks about the distribution of these games and what the game developers are doing to fight off competition in the casual gaming segment.

It takes the zapak example to show that casual games are here to stay. It further tells about the future plans of zapak and compares the groeth of casual gaming in India with increase in internet penetration.It re-iterates that industry observers believe that online games had great potential for growth in the Indian gaming market, as it overcame the problem of piracy.

Sify eyes kids for gaming biz

(2007, Infotech.indiatimes.com)

Web 2.0: Online Communities, Personalization and the Web OS.

(Singh, 2006)

Casual Games White Paper

-IGDA ,2003

The 2009-2014 Outlook for PC Casual Games in India

Icon Group International, Inc.

2008

"Insights on Casual Games,"

Nielson, 2009

Casual gaming study conducted by NPD Group

China Gaming 2008–2012 Forecast and Analysis

Casual Gaming Market Update

James Kuai and Peter Shackelfor 3Q 2007

2004 China Casual Game Research Report

(2005)

It shows the interest of the industry in the casual gaming industry and an attempt to focus on the needs of the consumers, finally. I talks about Sify and its plan to acquire casual games and make them available all across Sify’s cyber cafes.

The article reports developments on Web 2.0 in India. Social networks and casual gaming continue to prevail in the major themes of Web 2.0. Online communities emphasize the notion of more sharing and connectivity on the Internet, as well as a strong focus on personalization. Another interesting phenomenon in the Web 2.0 world is the emerging space of "online casual gaming."

This article is on the International Casual Games industry. Numerous players continue to enter the market, business models are constantly changing, and new customers are found every day. This paper helps define the industry, and give everyone a base level of understanding of all aspects of this space. It is not intended to go into minute detail on any one subject, but provides broad understanding to the major factors involved in the casual game industry.

This econometric study covers the latent demand outlook for PC casual games across the states, union territories and cities of India. Latent demand (in millions of U.S. dollars), or potential industry earnings (P.I.E.) estimates are given across over 5,000 cities in India. This report does not discuss the specific players in the market serving the latent demand, nor specific details at the product level. Nor does the report cover actual sales data (which are simply unavailable, in a comparable or consistent manner in virtually all of the cities in India)

This study looks at data from more than 800 casual games for PC computers, which are defined as inexpensive to produce, straightforward in concept, easy to learn and simple to play. They say that casual gamers return more often to games and therefore play more often than hardcore gamers.

The study, which surveyed nearly 3,000 U.S. gamers, identified 14 specific types of gamer within 39 different game genres. Casual gamers were divided into 10 classifications. The study also offered data that would seem to dispel the myth that casual gamers don't invest as much time playing games as core gamers do.

This IDC study examines the dynamics of the China gaming market and focuses on online gaming. It looks at market drivers, dynamics, and strategies; the competitive landscape; and includes profiles of the top 10 vendors as well as a 2008–2012 forecast. The concentration of the China online gaming market improved significantly in 2007. The revenue sum of the top 10 vendors occupied 91.8% of the total market.

Casual Gaming Market Update provides in-depth analysis of the current dynamics and future directions of the rapidly growing casual gaming industry in the USA, including quantitative forecasts, competitive analysis, consumer perspectives, and profiles of leading companies in the casual gaming value chain.

According to iResearch, market size of China online casual game industry was RMB 25 million in 2003 and it reaches to RMB 410 million in 2004 with growth rate of 356%. The fast growth of online casual game industry is mainly attributable to the market success of QQ game platform and Shanda BnB. iResearch forecasts that market size of China online casual game industry will keep fast growth in the following years: its is estimated that market size of China online casual game will reach RMB 1.78 billion in 2007.

The literature review failed to reveal any concrete consumer research done in the field of Casual gaming in India. Apart from references in articles in business and technology magazines, only two proper journal articles were found on the subject. No survey, scholarly article, book, dissertation etc on this topic covering the consumer angle and pertaining to India was found. Being a new research area, this is not surprising, but only logical.

Hence we find a huge research gap here, particularly in the Indian context.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES & FRAMEWORK

We see that there is a wide research gap in this area. At best surveys, statistics and reports are available on the subject. While the consumers have been studied in the west and Asian markets like China, an Indian study to understand the consumer was not found on an extensive search. Therefore, in the proposed research we plan to-

?Understand the Indian college-going casual internet gamer’’

No research was found on the above mentioned research field, inspite of extensive search. An exploratory research in this field is hence in order. The phenomena of Internet gaming and hence out study will be largely restricted to SEC A and SEC B in India ( JuxtConsult study,2009 ). This is due to the current limitations of internet penetration.

Though a comprehensive study needs to be done on all existing and potential casual gamers, the proposed dissertation will be limited to college going gamers only. This will be so keeping in mind the time constraints of the dissertation. The research objectives:

Find out reasons why college-goers play casual internet games

What are usage patterns of casual internet-gaming in India

Explore the casual gaming phenomena

First we need to know the platforms where casual internet games are being played by college-goers. After that we will find the reasons why these gamers are hooked on to casual internet gaming. We will then find the relations between the usage pattern and the reasons of usage and explore this area of casual gaming from the consumer perspective. This will give us various hypothesis which then can be verified.

Hence it will help develop a consumer-centric approach which is currently missing in the industry. A deep understanding of the casual internet gamers in India is necessary for this approach. The research’s objective is to develop this new approach for the industry and academia alike within the constraints of a research (college-going students only).

PROPOSED RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY

To find out the why’s and how’s of the Indian Casual gaming industry, a qualitative research will be in place. Here we are trying to understand the usage and behavior of the college going audience with respect to casual gaming, which requires a qualitative approach.

Secondary research-

Being an area which appears to be hardly studied, the starting point would be studies done on gaming in India, for example –

IAMAI-IMRB report

NASSCOM Animation & Gaming Report

IGDA reports

These reports give an insight on the demographics of the Indian gamer and are a good place to start. A secondary research on the subject of Casual online gaming will tell us where to find the gamers and challenges of the Industry. It will basically give an industry point of view.

With the help of these reports and an extensive online research, we will be able to find out the platforms where the gamers are playing casual games, for example-

Dedicated Casual gaming websites

Social media networks

Mobiles

Film/brand promotion websites

A comprehensive list of all the casual gaming platforms on the internet will be made. Once we know where to find the college going casual gamer, we can move on to the next stage, which is to probe him/her.

Apart from this, casual gaming phenomena in other countries will be studied where research has already been done on the subject. Quantitative studies on Indian gaming industry will be studied to form a strong base for the qualitative research to be undertaken.

Primary research-

We will through the secondary research know where to find the Indian casual gamer. We will then do a primary research to find the reasons why people play casual games.

In- depth Interviews-

To find out the reasons why people play casual internet games 15 in-depth interviews will be conducted keeping in mind that all possible platforms are covered. The how’s and why’s of the college going gamers will be found out.

Questionnaire-

To understand the usage patterns of the casual internet gamers, a qualitative questionnaire will be in order. It will give us the various attitudes of the gamers along with consumption patterns of the college-going gamers. We will be able to find out which games they are playing, when they are playing and how they are playing. A questionnaire will have a sample size of around 40 people from the college-going gamers.

The results of the in-depth interview and questionnaire along with the secondary research will then be used to develop the psychographic profiling of the casual internet gamer. This will be done using the TGI software tool.

The universe will be derived by the intensive secondary research. Sample size is proposed to be 15 in-depth interviews and 40 gamers (20 men and 20 women) for the questionnaire, keeping in mind our target, the college going gamers. Mere numbers are irrelevant here as our focus is on developing a deep understanding on the subject. As this is a qualitative study, a probability sampling method is ineffective and expensive; hence we will do non-probability sampling with convenience, quota and snow-ball sampling techniques.

A content analysis technique will be undertaken. The analysis will be with a systematic description of behavior asking who, what, where, where and how questions within formulated systematic rules to limit the effects of analyst bias. Being an exploratory research, this will be a good basis to begin with.

EXPECTED CONTRIBUTION

The Indian gaming industry is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 49% to reach USD 830 million by 2012 which was USD 167 million in 2008. Casual internet gaming is an area of the industry which is popular and growing. And it is also an area where on an extensive search no concrete research could be found. Hence this area of research appeals to both the industry and academia.

No consumer centric approach in this field has yet been observed. This research will perhaps be the first of its kind where the psychographic profiling of the college going casual internet gamers will be done and basic STP constructs on the same will be developed. For the industry, this approach will help them develop and deliver better products and being an exploratory research, for the academia the research output will provide further scope for researching in the field.

This research only focuses on College going gamers. There are a lot of other segments which can be studied. Also, casual gaming is just a subset of computer gaming, which in itself is a large field to research on, given the dearth of studies done in the Indian context, leaving scope for further researches, using this research as a basis.