In recent years, accelerated urbanization and IT pervasiveness has kick-started the next phase of growth in the gaming industry in the emerging economies of the Asia-Pacific (APAC). Of these, India is fast emerging as a frontier for gaming enthusiasts. The majority of gamers in India are below the age of 24 years, which creates a tremendous market opportunity for gaming companies. The Indian gaming industry stood at INR 62 billion in 2019 and is now projected to grow to INR 250 billion by 2024.
In India, the online gaming market, in particular, has witnessed massive growth owing to the availability of high-speed Internet, widespread usage of smartphones and affordable data packs. This has also led to the growing popularity of competitive gaming/e-sports in the country. With local e-sports tournaments emerging as a key trend in recreation and even as a career avenue, gaming enthusiasts are focusing on PC gaming, owing to the need for high-end storage to get the best performance.
This exponential pace of growth in the gaming industry can also be attributed to the change in social perspectives. Whereas gaming was previously frowned upon owing to its effects on behaviour and psychology, today it has been widely accepted as a sport in its own right.
With the Indian gaming market poised for future growth, the industry is extending itself to technological sophistication faster than ever. This has, of course, brought on the inherent challenges of speed and storage to facilitate an enhanced gaming experience.
Storage technology: The backbone of gaming
Data requirements vary across the three main levels of gaming: professional, mainstream and amateur. Data primarily resides in two locations 1) at the developer’s and promoter’s end in large data servers and 2) at the gamers end in PCs or consoles. To bring high-end immersive experiences to gamers, it is vital that performance-driven storage devices- SSDs- are used.
Today, game developers across the world are using technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), computer vision and AR/VR. On one hand, it has resulted in creating an immersive experience for gamers, on the other, it has increased the file size to over 100 GB per game in some cases. As a result, gamers are left with the agonising decision of deleting old games in order to make room for new favourites, and this can also lead to slow load times and downloads. Therefore, fuelling these enhancements requires strong hardware components that can support large graphics, 4K/8K video, and VR/AR content. This is where NVMe SSDs becomes a leading choice to build an ultimate gaming rig. Purpose-built for gaming with read speeds up to 3,470MB/s and storage capacity of up to 2TB. NVMe SSD provides the performance, capacity and reliability to help gamers stay in the game and play without limits.
Without a doubt, NVMe-based-SSDs have become essential for the best gaming experience, owing to fast throughput and low latency.
Key technology trends defining the Indian gaming industry
Here are some of the other key technology trends that will define the future of gaming in India:
- Experienced gamers will shift to larger screens: The quest for immersive gaming experiences will lead gaming enthusiasts to larger screens, as a result of which PCs and laptops will become increasingly popular. Therefore, it is not a surprise that gaming PCs grew 51.1% YoY in 2019 in India. This is because a larger screen not just delivers stunning video quality, but also comes with the computing power and high refresh rates to keep up with some of the fastest and graphically demanding games.
- Technology integration and collaboration will rise: AR/VR and AI/ML are already recognised as key technologies driving the gaming industry. Be it gesture control, High-DEF displays, Internet of Things (IoT) or wearables, there is no limit to possible technology integrations in future gaming to deliver an enhanced gaming experience.
- Game streaming will gain popularity: Many gaming companies globally are rolling out streaming services – enabled by 5G – that allow gamers to play high-intensity games at the maximum graphical settings on virtually any screen. Newer business models, such as subscription-based gaming, do not require gamers to store the games on their device. However, the games themselves will still need more storage and computing power, owing to rich graphics, 4K video and so on. While the Cloud currently handles much of these storage requirements, as games evolve, edge computing will enable data centres closer to the gamers for reduced latency and to enable immersive experiences.
High-end gaming is the future
The pace at which gamers and game developers across the world are experimenting with storage and technology integrations indicates that the future of the industry includes high-end gaming. Expectedly, some of the best gaming experiences will involve huge volumes of data to be supported by storage capabilities at both ends. The key challenge for gaming companies will be to keep the cost affordable at all ends. With devices getting smaller and wearables as well as VR devices making way into the daily lives of people, the future of gaming is interestingly beyond saturation.
*The Author is Director, Marketing – Western Digital India.