With GTA 6 Making Waves, Can India’s Gaming Industry Catch Up?

With GTA 6 Making Waves, Can India's Gaming Industry Catch Up?

At the break of dawn, our cell phone buzzed with an announcement pertaining to Take 2 Interactive’s GTA 6 trailer , marking a momentous occasion in the history of gaming. 

After its predecessor GTA V’s release 13 years ago, rockstar has finally released the trailer for Grand Theft Auto (GTA 6) thereby ending a long wait and giving gamers around the world relief. 

So what does the trailer include? 

As per the trailer that dropped on Rockstar’s official handle on YouTube, “GTA 6” will be released in 2025. 

Several analysts have predicted that the release of the new title will bring sales of billions of dollars each year. Fun fact, the previous GTA 5 game had racked up 1 billion dollars in sales in Just 3 days that too in 2013. 

With the breath-taking trailer gracing us with a journey back to ‘ Vice City’ and footage of robberies, gunplay and open-world driving, the hype for it is quite real. 

But a question remains, with all this success over decades of accomplishment for Rockstar, Is India’s gaming industry ready to take the leap? 

Let’s discuss that!!

India’s Gaming Potential: Is it time for a recheck of the policies? 

The gaming industry is one that’s close to the heart of every Indian as it has gone through a remarkable transformation in the past few years with the increasing number of people participating in online games across the country. 

As per the most recent report, the count of online gamers in India grew to reach 421 million in 2022, and of these 90-100 million are considered frequent players. 

These reports also suggest that the online gaming segment is expected to reach INR 231 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 20%. 

However, with all of these predictions, there are several areas wherein the Indian gaming industry falls short of hindering its growth and competitiveness. So could it reach the heights that GTA 6 presumably sets?

What’s the Drawback? 

All the numbers and reports are impressive, however, the industry still finds itself at a crossroads today. 

Real money gaming(RMG) , which contributed 60% of the revenue, is embroiled in the policy debate equating it to betting or gambling. 

As per the report, this year the GST department hiked the tax liability on RMG deposits to 28%, and in addition a 30% TDS on the winnings. 

Due to this, the impact has been that there is a significant decline in the active user base, start-ups running out of capital, massive consolidation and RMG companies diversifying overseas. 

In addition to this, the Venture fund Lumikai has already cut its growth forecast for the RMG segments to 5% over the next five years, down from 25% previously with its share in the overall market reducing to 32% by 2028 fiscal. 

From downfalls, comes rebirth – A silver lining in India’s gaming industry

With GTA 6 Making Waves, Can India's Gaming Industry Catch Up?

Even though the fantasy gaming industry is expecting a downfall, there is a silver lining. 

The focus is now shifting to casual mobile gaming and story-based perspective gaming in tune with the likes of Grand Theft Auto. 

The traditional VC funding in the digital gaming framework in 2023 has witnessed money flowing in from new corners like an INR 410 crore investment from SBI mutual find, INR 100 crore from Kamabth brother invested in Nazara Technologies and a $50 million corporate venture fund launch by the Japanese entertainment firm MIXI inc.

In addition to this, Sony, one of the main players in the gaming horizon has launched the Sony India Hero project to support the Indian game developers with a minimum of $100,000 funding. Finally, there’s Krafton India gaming incubator fund with an outlay of $50,000 to $150,000 per investment as well as Kratos Studio’s commitment to invest INR 50 crore. 

Is there a Bullish Sentiment Arising Within the Gaming Industry?

Lumikai, India’s first gaming and interactive media fund forecasts that nearly 70% of the revenue contribution by 2028 shall flow from in-app purchases, subscriptions and ad revenues. 

Lumikai’s founding partner, Justin Keeling said “The next set of monetisation and revenue growth in Indian gaming will come from in-app purchases and ad revenue, mostly through casual and mid-core games. The ecosystem is eventually graduating from playing casual games to all kinds of games and people have been experimenting with new genres. ” 

A quarter of India’s 568 million gamers  are paying users. “This growth rate will accelerate going forward as our offering is strong with a broad and creative selection of mid-core games,” Keeling added.

In addition to this, the fact that global houses such as Krafton and Sony invest in Indian developers with mentorship and financial backing shows the potential that this segment holds. 

A Perspective from Commodity Samachar:

The size of the digital gaming market in FY 2022 was $3.1 billion. The expected size for FY 2028 is $7.5 billion.

Keeping these aspects in mind, Our Head of Research at Commodity Samachar, Ankit Kapoor had this to say about the topic.

“The GTA franchise has been a cult classic for decades and the launch of GTA 6 not only proves the marvellous standards that rockstar displays but also highlights the skills of the US economy.

Firstly, when the Government levied a tax on winnings in real money gaming(RMG), the decision has to be accepted as a safeguard against the betting industry. There is a misconception that these ‘real money gaming(RMG)’ are existing under the gaming industry when it is not. GTA online, PUBG, the upcoming GTA 6 (if there is supposedly an online DLC) other games are also coming under online gaming and these RMG games are just games promoting ‘gambling’.

Secondly, foreign investment is a good thing, however in the gaming industry, even though they are focusing on generating revenue in the long run from ads and from in game payment, the royalties are still going outside the country.

There is a requirement to enhance the skills of the citizens of India so that they can pave way for creation of games and marketing them effectively. A change is underway and this could potentially be seen in the years to come”

Commodity Samachar
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