India has emerged as one of the top five countries for online mobile gaming. According to a report by Flurry Analytics, India came in second after the US. China, Brazil, and Russia are the other countries in the top five.

According to the report, the top five countries drive 50% of all gaming sessions in the world. The US, India, and China have taken pole positions for all gaming sessions. Brazil and Russia round out the top five.

The report showcases the online mobile gaming analysis of the these countries on two broad metrics: Global game sessions and app sessions in a gaming category.

Under the first head, the US gained the maximum 20% share, followed by India (13%), China (7%), Brazil (5%) and Russia (5%). However Brazil leads the pack of five with 18% share in app sessions in the gaming category. It is closely followed by India (15%) and the US (13%). China and Russia had 12% each.

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The report also claims that the real gaming addicts are coming from Europe. Specifically, Netherlands and Sweden users both spend 31% of all their app sessions playing games. But these countries do not account for all gaming sessions globally. Netherlands accounts for 1% of all global gaming sessions, and Sweden 2%.

Global Mobile Online Gaming: Hitting The Highlights Of The Flurry Report

From Mario Kart to Pokemon Go, Candy Crush and Words with Friends the global gaming scenario is seeing progress. Both in terms of engaging users, as well as the structure and context of the game itself. In such a scenario, Indian gaming developers such as RummyPassion and POKKT are also coming up with new and interesting games to entice users. These developers are going global with their offerings, so it is important to understand the global market as a whole.

The Flurry report has made a detailed analysis and identified global scenarios in segments such as rising/declining gaming categories, time spent in gaming apps, screen size, revenue opportunities and more.

Gaming Categories In Decline

Gaming sessions show a 10% year-on-year decline for the second time running in various gaming categories. The report stated, “Three years ago, arcade, casual and brain games were driving 55% of all gaming sessions. Since then, we have seen substantial declines in two of those categories: arcade and casual games.

Arcade games, which accounted for 24% of all gaming sessions in 2014, decreased by 34%, and casual games by 50%. The declines of those two very large gaming categories were a key factor for the overall game session downturn within the last two years. A lot of those sessions simply dropped and were not spent in other gaming categories.”

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Category Winners

Card and casino games have made the most of the decline. They are in the top spot across all three gaming categories – Free, Paid, and Editor’s Picks on the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. “Sessions grew by 22% since 2014, and the category now accounts for 15% of all gaming sessions. Separately, the growth of smaller app categories is driving diversification for the industry.”

The report cited instances of board and strategy games, which grew by 29% Y-o-Y from 2016 to 2017 and sessions are up 80% since 2014. This rise increased the category’s session -share of all gaming apps from 1.6% to 4.0%,” stated the report. The report also suggests that racing games are capitalising on users’ app sessions.

Breaking Down App Sessions

“Flurry data shows that time spent in gaming apps, has remained steady over the last year (+1%). Additionally, the latest year-over-year session length growth equals an increase of 44 seconds (+12%) per session, which indicates higher in-game user engagement than in previous years. These statistics reveal that while more gamers open gaming apps less often, they often spend more time playing games during each session”

As per the data revealed, the average US consumer plays mobile games for 33 minutes per day. The report broke down session time and discovered that the average session length has grown from 6 minutes and 22 seconds in 2016, to 7 minutes and 6 seconds in 2017. The average session length in 2014-15 did not exceed 6 minutes.

Size Matters: Tablets Versus Smartphones

As a leisure activity, online mobile gaming depends on user engagement. Bigger screens attract greater user engagement. For on the go playing, users prefer medium-sized phone or tablet, but when they want to do dedicated gaming, they prefer full sized (10 inches and above) tablets. The average session length of these tablets is also 10 minutes.

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Timing Is Everything

Smartphone gaming reported a steady uptick in the morning, with respect to the most popular times for one-the-go versus couch gaming. For on-the-go gamers, smartphones are the go to device while commuting. Couch gaming showed a peak during the evening, when more users log in from the comfort of their own surroundings. The report stated, “While gaming time on the phone still peaks in the evening, it’s important to consider that overall phone usage peaks at that time as well.”

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Revenue Opportunities In Online Mobile Gaming

SensorTower revealed that the combined gaming app store revenue (iOS and Android) has increased to $11.9 Bn in Q1 2017. The figure was $7.8 Bn in Q1 2016, signifying 53% Y-o-Y growth. Users are more willing to spend money inside apps, which will have a positive impact on online mobile gaming revenues too.

While Android still accounts for a large percentage of the gaming user population revenue, SensorTower discerned that iOS conversion to revenue was up 38% from January 2016 to January 2017.

As per a New York Times report, the average digital user’s attention has come down to a mere eight seconds. User engagement through non-intrusive, conscious marketing is the new nut to crack. Keeping this in mind, the revenue opportunities in online mobile gaming have to be carefully modulated with the game’s message and user engagement.

This means that longer session lengths are opening up new opportunities for innovative engagement and monetisation tactics. “For example, the peak usage hours on mobile devices are between 6 and 9 pm, which app developers can leverage to target specific users with acquisition or engagement campaigns,” stated the Flurry report.

The State Of Online Mobile Gaming In India

In India, the push for serious online mobile gaming has come hand in hand with higher Internet penetration and proliferate use of smartphones. Startups such as POKKT, RummyPassion.

In fact, in 2016, Reliance announced that it would fund 20 Indian gaming startups in the coming two years. In more recent times, the online gaming sector has seen movement too – with Canada’s Clairvest gaining a stake in Ace2Three. Pune’s DeltaCorp acquired online poker site, Adda.com.

As per a Google KPMG report published in May 2017, the online gaming industry in India across platforms is estimated to be worth about $360 Mn. This figure has the potential to grow to $1 Bn by 2021, with 310 Mn gamers.  “There has been a 117% spike in searches for online games by Indians, offering huge potential for developers,” said the report titled Online Gaming in India: 2021. The findings of this report coincide with another published by App Annie and IDC that stated that mobile gaming revenue was 25% higher than PC and Mac gaming revenues.

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So, it is imperative for Indian app developers to understand that online mobile gaming has the potential to become a huge cash cow for several reasons. Number one, the number of smartphone users in India is expected to reach 340.2 Mn in 2017. And smartphones are where on-the-go games are played. Also, user attention span can be gained through smart gamification of brands and enterprises, in order to attain and retain user loyalty.

And lastly, new verticals such as augmented reality and virtual reality are allowing for a radical change in online mobile gaming. A prime example is the unprecedented success of Pokemon Go in 2016. Indian and international mobile app developers need to leverage the trillion dollar opportunities available therein.

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