Consumer

India: Gaming's Next Frontier

Date
November 10, 2022
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General Catalyst is looking to double down on our gaming and consumer crypto investments in India, and we’d like to share our thoughts as to why, and in what categories we are interested.

We are global investors in gaming, backing sector-defining companies throughout GC’s history including Discord, CCP Games (makers of EVE), Big Fish Games, and Super Evil Megacorp.

The category grew rapidly during the advent and growth of mobile when customer acquisition costs were less competitive. Now, gaming companies must rely on community-based marketing techniques to grow reliably. Twitch and other influencer platforms for example have become essential for the growth of mega-games like Fortnite. Legions of eager gamers will play in search of fame and while learning from their favorite pros.

With the rapid growth of internet users in India, the early advent of online community platforms within gaming, and the developing fandoms of esports athletes, there is plenty of room for India to have one or more mega-games of its own.

Source: Statista 

In India, we are currently invested in Fitmint, STAN, and StockGro, but we believe there is still immense value that can be created as Indian internet use grows and existing users demand more from their online experiences.

With much of the groundwork laid and many logistical problems solved via the internet (eg. farmers aggregating their supply through Farmart or consumers getting diagnostics done at home just like with food delivery via Orange Health), it is now time to focus on creating joy via quality social experiences and entertainment, as well.

Despite early gains, the US market is now dominated by pretty vintage online experiences like Instagram and Twitter--which are asocial and feel dated.  We see a huge 'leapfrog' opportunity in India – where new users will want to level up their online experiences via gaming and tight-knit communities.

There is early proof of this! The gaming market is growing much faster in India than in any other region, more than tripling in revenue in the past 4 years.

 

Source: Statista & Indian Times

As a result, GC is calling ambitious, creative, and passionate founders to change the face of the social internet via next generation social gaming experiences.

Overall, we are interested in three specific themes. If you are building in one of the below, or an adjacent theme in Bharat gaming, we’d love to hear about it.

1. The next generation Twitch of India

Twitch has not penetrated India as it has in the US. Yet, Twitch has become critical for in-game community building. Players that find great games only become captivated when they find persistent community – this is commonly found in the US via Twitch where there are streamers to look up to and co-subscribers to chat with. We believe that the power of synchronous community engagement will extend to India too, but that the next platform will go even further – it will level up the quality of the platform to take advantage of technological improvements and accommodate the needs of an increasingly “internet first” generation.

2. We believe that there is white space to make games built specifically for Indian gamers in a number of key genres. Certain competitive genres and uncompetitive player vs. environment games are two key examples.

Source: YouTube

Battle Royale dominates media content for gaming in India. Nearly all of the top 20 gaming YT channels are focused on this genre. Fueled by new internet users, Fortnite took off as the clear first-place game, and left everything else behind. But, what if players are not interested in an FPS competitive shooter like Fortnite? As this marquis game is slowly replaced in the public zeitgeist, there is room for many new games to take its place.

Competitive: We believe that a MoBA will emerge in India, in addition to other competitive PvP games like a strategy game, hero shooters, and more. Each have their own leading game built specifically for Indian gamers.

Cooperative: Beyond PvP, we believe there is a seismic shift in gamers’ preferences toward non-competitive activities across the world. As networking technology improves and as Gen Z is increasingly accustomed to “hanging out” online in lieu of simply “competing” online, players are looking for social experiences instead of media-based ones. We believe cooperative games in India will grow even larger than those in the US–where they don’t have as strong a hold, historically, in the market.

3. Leveraging crypto and commerce-like experiences, companies can build strong community-led gaming and game-fi experiences in India

GC has invested in Fitmint and STAN. Fitmint leverages move-to-earn technology to encourage fitness, and allow players to earn a little money while they’re at it. STAN allows creators to monetize with NFTs that allow their fandoms special access to special content and experiences. One interesting observation from STAN’s execution is the replacement of cricket and other sports with ESports and how new fandoms are being created with many power users coming online from Tier 2-4 towns.

We think that great game-fi and social-fi experiences will be built not just to cater to the growing appetites of consumers in India but also with an “India for the World” mindset that combines engagement focused experiences with NFT and commerce like monetization, allowing for founders to focus on an excellent consumer experience. The highly engaged communities they nurture can sustain the growth until strong PMF and escape velocity is achieved.

Any founders looking to build on these themes, or adjacent themes in the India-first gaming category, should reach out to Anand, Niko, and James at General Catalyst. We are excited about the possibilities of what can be built for young gamers, especially in smaller towns of India.

- James, Anand, & Niko


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The views and opinions expressed on this page are those of certain employees of General Catalyst, all of which are subject to change without notice.  The views and opinions expressed on this page may not necessarily represent the views of General Catalyst.  

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