By Bhavesh Purohit
April 17, 2020.
A large number of Indians have resorted to playing games on their smartphones in the middle of the nationwide lockdown that commenced on March 24. With schools being shut and people staying indoors, the user engagement on mobile gaming apps has skyrocketed over the past few weeks.
“Earlier, I wouldn’t get enough time to play games on my mobile. But now that I’m working from home, I don’t even have much work to do. So, I like to kill my time by playing these mobile games”, said Sudarshan Panchal, a corporate employee from Mumbai.
PUBG Mobile is one of the most popular games in India and they recently introduced a ‘Stay home challenge’ to keep the users engaged with the game.
“People are now playing PUBG Mobile more than ever. One of the factors that stand out in this game is its random nature which creates an adrenaline boost among the players. And, especially now that you can’t meet anyone, this game is making the world a smaller place. I think it’s amazing that how online games are helping people socialize on internet, a lot of people who had to quit playing PUBG Mobile because of work or exams have now once again found a way to start playing it”, said Ocean Sharma, caster and analyst at PUBG Mobile India.
In a Zoom video conference, BARC and Nielsen media panel representatives said that time spent on playing mobile games in India has increased by 11 percent. They compared the data fetched between January 13, 2020 and February 2, 2020, when Coronavirus in India was not at its peak, to March 16, 2020 and March 27, 2020, when the pandemic became a major concern in the country. They also stated thaton an average, a total of 3.5 hours in a day is being spent on playing mobile games amid the lockdown.
Prof. Mala Sridhar, HOD of Psychology department at NMKRV College for women, Bengaluru, said, “The primary freedom of every human being is movement. So, when you lock people down, what else would you expect youngsters to do other than gaming? They are choosing a medium that is available to them. Gaming is also one way of escaping into freedom. It makes them feel like they are in control when playing a game which they may have lost in real life. It gives them a sense of control in their own imaginary world. But I am sure they are bright enough to understand that this is temporary. Once things go back to normal, they’ll know that they’re in a real world”.
As per the report published by Limelight Networks, 23.4% of Indians who play online games regularly, spend 7 hours each week on it. It is not just the adventure games that have gained popularity but, the user engagement has also surged on real-money gaming platforms like Winzo and Poker.
Reports say that there are more than 250 million mobile gamers in India and this number is increasing each day as people continue to stay indoors.