The online gaming market has seen tremendous growth of late, driven, in part, by the surge in digital usage. The revenues have nearly doubled over a period of four years, reaching 43.8 billion in FY18 and are expected to grow further at a CAGR of 22.1 per cent from FY18-23, expected to reach 118.8 billion. The increase in online gaming activity driven by the growth in the number of gamers by nearly ten times over 2010-2018, also led to similar growth in game developing companies over the same period. The proliferation of affordable smartphones, high-speed internet and falling data prices are the primary catalysts for this rapid growth.
The three key segments of online gaming are– real money games (RMG), mobile-centric/casual games and e-sports. Within the RMG genre, the further sub classifications include rummy, poker, daily fantasy sports and quizzing.
Online fantasy sports gaming (OFSG) is a form of skill-based online sports gaming where sports fans can create their own team made up of real-life players from upcoming matches and is widely played across cricket, football, kabaddi, basketball and other popular sports games. These virtual teams garner points based on the actual statistical performance of players during the real life match and winners are determined accordingly.
The advent of multiple sporting leagues over the last few years (e.g. football, badminton, basketball and volleyball) has increased opportunities for users to engage in fantasy sports. The emergence of these new leagues ensures that users can engage in multiple sports throughout the year. The regional / geography based team structures of most of the new leagues, coupled with the presence of national and international stars, ensures a keen following of these leagues on fantasy sports platforms as well.
Over the last two years, the number of internet subscribers has grown from 368 million in September 2016 to 560 million in September 2018, of which 86 per cent were broadband subscribers. Also, during the same period, average data usage per subscriber soared due to the availability of affordable smartphones /smart feature phones coupled with rapidly falling data costs. This growth in digital infrastructure has led to the availability of high speed internet in the hands of the masses, helping drive growth in fantasy sports. The option of playing the sport on a handheld device and at any given point irrespective of location and time has significantly helped the user engagement around fantasy sports.
Sports Trading is prevalent across large parts of the world and a huge market exists for the same. With the motivators around earning money, excitement and utilising sports knowledge finding takers both in fantasy games as well as sports trading, there is often a perception that relates sports trading to fantasy sports. Through this section, we examine the usual motivators for sports trading globally, and our survey results throw light on how users perceive fantasy sports vis-a-vis sports Trading.
Trading and gambling are governed by various state legislations and are largely prohibited. Some laws prohibit the operation of gambling houses, visiting a gambling house, as well as being in the possession of a gambling device. However, it explicitly exempts ‘games of skill’ where the skill and knowledge of the player can influence the outcome of the result, vis-à-vis ‘games of chance’ where the results are predominantly determined by luck, which are prohibited.
Despite the restrictions, underground betting is still prevalent in the world. Statista Research has estimated the size of the betting market at ~ USD 130 billion in 2018, up from ~ USD 88 billion in 2012, growing at a CAGR of ~ 7 per cent during this period. Most of this revenue is derived from sports betting. It is estimated that ~ USD 200 million is bet on every one-day international played by the cricket team.
Another aspect of online gaming which has seen growth over the last couple of years is competitive gaming/e-sports. Electronic sports, also called e-sports, are organised gaming competitions wherein players compete individually or as a team in a competitive gaming environment with the goal to win the tournament. This organised competitive gaming tournament among professional players can also be viewed live in an arena, over television or internet with live commentary or online through gaming broadcasters.
E-sports as a segment has grown rapidly over the past few years. This growth has led to an increased interest in users to become professional players to compete in tournaments and to consider e-sports as a viable career option. Globally, e-sports is a flourishing market with the global e-sports audience expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.6 per cent over 2017-2021, reaching 250 million e-sports enthusiasts globally. On the revenue front, the global e-sports market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 26 per cent over 2017-2021, reaching a size of USD1.65 billion.