Online and mobile gaming is an emerging sector in India that has shown significant growth due to an increase in the wireless internet users and smartphone base, and changes in perception of gaming as a means of entertainment.
India recently ranked among the top 5 in the world when it comes to online gaming. There are currently more than 560 million internet users which makes India the second country with the largest internet consumer. As per the data presented by SensorTower, there is a huge growth in mobile game downloads in 2020 with 7.3 billion installs and a total of 17% market share in installs volume.
Are you a gamer? If not….
This is the best time to become an online and mobile gamer as the market is booming and expanding through many of its verticals, including e-sports, fantasy sports, and other skill-based educational and card games
The year 2020 has witnessed comparatively higher investments in gaming as compared to the past five years altogether. The gaming sector in India attracted an investment of $ 544 million post lockdown from August 2020 to January 2021.
The success of a game depends on the experience it delivers to the gamers. The success of a game depends on the experience it delivers to the gamers. Leading have been able to effectively track the importance of customer experience for building strong customer satisfaction for the games.Every element of the game matters. The speed, graphics, features, and interface everything included decides the experience the gamer gets when playing the game.
The UX and UI of games enhance only when real players participate in the development and beta testing of the game. But how can companies and developers effectively collect and analyze user feedback? How can a market research services company help companies and developers with effective usability testing services?
Current Scenario of Gaming Industry In India
India’s gaming sector currently stands at $ 1.2 billion and is predicted to increase to $ 3 billion by the end of 2023. The major contributors are Gen-Z which accounts for one-third of the population.
India now has more than 250 million mobile gamers and more than 560 million online gamers, and this number is likely to increase rapidly in the coming years. More than half of Indian gamers are below 25 years of age. Covid-19 has given a significant boost to which is shaping the future of every industry in India.
The availability of cheaper mobile data accompanied by the penetration of affordable smartphones has made mobile the most preferred gaming device.
As per , India currently has more than 275 gaming companies and 15000 game developers. These mobile and online startups are offering a large number of work opportunities for youth. In addition, foreseeing the potential of the gaming industry, many institutes around the country are offering technical courses on game development and designing.
The Technology Factor In Today's Gaming
The advancement of technology has further influenced the gaming industry in India. Technologies like ML (Machine Learning), AI (Artificial Intelligence), VR (Virtual Reality), and AR (Augmented Reality) have intensified the experience of online games for the users.
The technology factor has revolutionized the entire industry with its application in enhancing and evolving the UI and UX of the games. The HD graphics, high-end platforms, and 4k capabilities make the games highly immersive and faster in terms of performance.
1. Interactive Gaming
The latest technology has made it easier for the developers to develop interactive games where the user can participate and update on games personally. Users have also discovered certain games as a medium of socializing with others through online multiplayer options.Artificilal intelligence and machine learning have been there in the gaming industry from quite some time now. Developer are intergrating these latest technologies notonly in the games but also in the development process to develop high end games.
By developing games using new and advanced technologies the developers are able to offer a customized digital view of the games which enhances the experience of the players. These technologies are also used by the developers to prevent any time of addictive behaviors or health issues.
Features like face recognition, gesture recognition, voice recognition are increasing the engagement of first-time gamers to become part of the community. Smartphone users of every age have started trying out one or the other popular mobile games from their social circles.
2. Gaming with real money
The widespread adoption of simple payment methods like google pay, Phonepe, Mobikwik, etc has accelerated the growth of online gaming that involves real money. Real money games such as those related to card games, fantasy sports, and other casual multiplayer games have seen a strong spike in their users in recent years paving the way for higher investment opportunities.
As real money gaming sites and apps have integrated the SSL certificates and other security systems like blockchain and safe gateway payment, the trust factor of the user on such games have significantly boosted. These real money games are now engaging a large user base who are comfortable investing real money to play and win bigger amounts.
How real-time feedback and reviews help in improving the UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) of Games?
Collecting real player feedback is crucial in today’s gaming world. Gaining user feedback to generate actionable insights, enhances the overall experience of the game and builds strong relationships in the gaming community.
The timely feedback from target user can aid in avoiding bigger impacts such as-
- Users getting discouraged to play further and quit in between
- Having bugs that can’t be fixed for a long time when the game is live in the market.
- Negative impact on the PR of the brand due to prolonged issues.
- Permanent shrinking of user base and declining loyalty by the games.
1. Early access window – The traditional feedback mechanism
Offering early access has been the traditional method used by developers to get real-time feedback from the target users. The developers release the entire game to a set of users as early access and then ask them to play the game and try all the features. Post this the developers ask the early access user to report their feedback using different methods.
The developers then use this feedback to enhance the UX and UI of the game and remove potential bugs in the application. Developers are often forced to increase the ‘Early Access’ hype window before actually releasing the full version of the gaming application in the market for download by everyone. Many developers simply ask the user for feedback during the early access period while some try to approach them through social media.
While this method seems reasonable, the developers have been facing a tough time getting user feedback and convert them into actionable insights. The two major reasons behind the inefficiency of this method are-
- Absence of proper guidelines for the user to play the game and try different features.
- Lack of incentives or tools to report and share the feedback to the developers
Getting players to participate in the game development using early access window is great, but you need a plan to focus that participation to deliver actionable insight. So, what’s the alternative?
2. Usability Testing- The New Alternative
Usability testing which also referred to as beta testing enables the developers to gain real-time user feedback converted into actionable insights. Firms offering usability testing services set up an organized process for testing apps and reporting feedback.
The insights from the usability test report are followed by the developers to enhance the UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) of the application or website by making it error-free and optimizing it as per the feedbacks.
How to do Usability Testing?
A team of analysts conducts the test by giving proper prior guidelines to the users and deploy the best usability testing tools for mobile apps and websites to record the feedback during the test.
The game is then tested with real target users where they are asked to complete typical tasks while observers watch, listen, takes notes, and manage the tools to collect real-time feedback.
This feedback is converted into actionable insights by the research analysts who prepare the detailed usability test research report for the developers.
Usability Testing at a centralized location
The recruited gamers are invited to a centralized physical location where they are given required resources and real money to play or use the app with all its features as per the given guideline.
The dedicated team collects the feedback and asks the users to uninstall the app before leaving the venue to prevent the app from getting pirated before its launch.
Remote Usability Testing
In this method, the gamers are recruited for remote testing of the game using online mode. The group of users is asked to play the game as per the guidelines and the feedback is recorded using remote usability testing tools.
The remote usability testing tools also help in collecting accurate and detailed data with precision.
An effective usability testing fuels enhanced UX and UI of the game as the developers can focus and execute required optimizations and bug fixing in the testing phase itself. This mechanism ensures the gamers and new users, start with the best version of the games that have minimal bugs and interface challenges.
India is currently among the top 5 mobile gaming markets in the world and the second-largest online gaming market in the world. This makes India all set for massive investments opportunities in the gaming industry. As the gaming industry grows, the Indian government is also playing a more active role in facilitating and regulating the industry.
While there is a significant surge in the investment activity, the long term sustainability of the gaming industry will depend on how the sector will deal with challenges like data privacy, low number of paid users for in-app purchases, lack of organized online and mobile gaming platforms, and uncertain regulations around real money gaming