“India’s gaming market is still nascent and the behaviour of the gamers is still to be discovered in many ways.” Coming from Quentin Staes-Polet, General Manager, India and SEA, of Epic Games, one of the top game developers in the world, this is an important statement.
Speaking to indianexpress.com from Goa, Quentin says India’s gaming market is growing fast, but from a small base. “Literally, three years ago bandwidth was limited and very costly and now it’s very cheap. That is something that has transformed the market dramatically in a very short time period of time,” he says.
While the size of the market is big, Quentin says there are still challenges for a big developer like Epic Games. “There are a lot of peculiarities that make it very interesting but that also makes it very challenging to address especially if your focus is on the high-quality, high-visual gaming experience. India is also a fairly low average revenue per user (ARPU) market,” he explains.
Although India’s gaming market isn’t as matured as Japan or Europe, Quentin said he has seen a spike in the number of game consoles being sold here. That said, India is still very much a mobile gaming market. “The console numbers are not comparable and I think the guys who are successful are the developers in the mobile space,” he says.
“I think now there are certainly some companies that are doing good business. So we are definitely looking at it and trying to find what’s the right point for us to come in.”
‘Fortnite has lots of players in India’
Epic Games’ Fortnite has been a big success with over 350 million registered players globally, making it the most popular free-to-play battle royale game ever made. While there is no info on how many players log in every day or month, the developer in April announced that players logged 3.2 billion hours of Fortnite. The game reportedly generated $2.4 billion in revenue for Epic in 2018.
Fortnite is everywhere these days and so is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), developed by South Korea’s Bluehole. “Both those games address different age groups. Even though they both have a battle royale component, those games appeal to different people in different ways,” Quentin says.
Quentin didn’t share any India-specific figures, but did say that a lot of players actually play Fortnite in India. “We definitely have lots of players in India,” he said.
Epic Games recently made Fortnite available on Google Play Store for the first time, almost a year and a half after the studio tried to challenge the app store duopoly. The popular title had previously only been available on Android through alternative means. Apple and Google both take a 30 per cent cut on all in-app transactions made within apps distributed via their app stores – a fee that Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney had previously called “disproportionate”. The blockbuster game has been available on the iOS App Store since its launch.