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Esports Industry Has Propelled Into Mainstream Entertainment: Anish Kapoor, Infinix Mobile

We are optimising and evolving our devices with an array of powerful features and equally capable software to enhance the gaming experience, shares Kapoor in this exclusive interview.

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It wouldn't be wrong to say that the gaming industry has emerged as an unlikely beneficiary of the pandemic. Two lockdowns in one year have worked well for the online gaming industry at large, expecting it to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40 percent to $2.8 billion by 2022, according to Deloitte India report. India has come out as one of the top five mobile gaming markets in the world and the rapid growth is expected to strengthen the sector’s share of the total media and entertainment industry by 4−5 percent.  

Largely driven by smartphones, affordable data and increasing disposable income, there is a goldmine of creative and marketing opportunities in gaming, where most marketers are confidently diving in now.  They are taking an interesting route into embedding themselves into the lives of audiences by partnering with top game titles for sponsored in-game events, sponsoring e-sport events etc.  

 In a confab with Anish Kapoor, CEO, Infinix Mobile, he delves into how marketers are utilizing gaming to fulfil their marketing objectives and also how the company is elevatating the experience for their fans. 

 Excerpts:

 

How is gaming an engagement area for marketers? How are they catering to their TG better with this? 

When it comes to online gaming, mobile gaming has captured the largest chunk of the Indian market for the past five years with access to affordable smartphones high-speed 4G internet penetration and the world’s lowest data tariffs. The market was almost growing at 15% year-on-year until 2020. Within the first nine months, we witnessed the country securing the number one spot in mobile game downloads worldwide, clocking 7.3 billion installs and gathering in a 17% market share of the installs volume. This brought a huge opportunity for the marketers to engage in this area considering Mobile gaming is rapidly emerging as a popular source of entertainment regardless of age and location.  

Today, 69% of online gamers in our country are between the age group of 18-44 years and the numbers are simply rising, thanks to the game streaming influencers encouraging Indians to play more games. In fact, by 2022, the country is expected to add 40 million online gamers to emerge as a $2.8-billion-dollar online gaming industry.  


 How are brands partnering with gaming platforms to meet their objectives?

The gaming industry in India, which was already progressing at a rate of almost 27% per annum has grown significantly amid the ongoing pandemic situation. In fact, the esports industry has been propelled into mainstream entertainment. However, it is still a highly community driven phenomenon; which is where gaming platforms come into play. These platforms are able to tap into the right audience and offer an opportunity for the brands to directly touch base with them. We have recently partnered with India Today for their Esports Premier League as their title sponsor. Through this association, we are announcing our entry into this segment and at the same time, aiming to encourage budding talent in this new age arena; in line with our brand essence of #AbRuknaNahi 

  How are brands using gaming martech in their strategies?

Every time we introduce a new device in the market, we optimize it with certain value propositions that speak for itself. We are channeling our marketing strategies towards research and development for augmenting the performance of our smartphones. For instance, we have equipped all our latest Note series with the indigenous Dar-Link Game Boost technology, 90 Hz Refresh rate and a powerful chipset along with TUV Rheinland certification to deliver an enhanced experience for pro-level gamers. Note10pro for example is a fully loaded device with a 90hz refresh and 180hz touch sampling rate with a HelioG95 processor, it has a FHD+ Screen with a dual stereo sound. It does not end here as it has TUV Rheinland certification for its safe 33w fast charging and also the display. To top it off it has an IF Design award, what else can a user ask for. 

Meanwhile, we are also working closely with digital influencers and professional E-gamers to understand the users’ expectations and improve the gaming experience on our smartphones keeping them in mind. In fact, over a period of time, we have even established a community with them who are helping us in reaching out to our target audience and making our gaming smartphones such the Note series accessible to the masses.

  What kind of a share does gaming have in the marketing budget now?  

We believe in strengthening our overall ecosystem and value proposition rather than obsessing only at a particular aspect. We emphasize on the overall R&D, consumer research and the after-sales service ecosystem to cover all the bases and expectations of the user. Eventually, it all comes together to elevate the experience for our fans. For instance, to amplify the gaming ability of our devices, we have integrated the latest Helio Octa Core G-85 and G-95 processors for a seamless game play experience. We also focus on constantly optimizing our devices with big display, massive battery-backup, powerful audio and safe viewing to make long hours of game play convenient. Technologies such as Dar-Link for Game-play, Tuv Rheinland Certification for safe viewing have all been added in our latest devices to differentiate it from the clutter as far as gaming phones are concerned. 

Initially smartphone users used to only look out for specifications such as camera, performance, design and display before buying a device, today there are close to 80% of committed gamers from both metros and non-metros and a majority of them play multiplayer online games on their smartphones so naturally there are other things these users are looking at. So, we have been emphasizing making investments towards improvising the overall experience of our devices for the gamers, instead of just improving the gaming technology 

 What are the future trends for marketers in this sector?  

India’s gaming community is evolving and the country is expected to add 40 million online gamers to emerge as a $2.8-billion-dollar online gaming industry. This will present tremendous opportunities for smartphone marketers to tap the sector as people are no longer relying on consoles or PCs or waiting for the weekend to play a game. With smartphones becoming accessible to the masses, gaming will continue to penetrate all age groups, whether it is the millennials or adult veterans, all be impacted by this growing trend.  

In India, while in-game ads are not popular, game streaming platforms are dominating the industry to drive more audience through the smartphone industry. Smartphone marketers can team up with eSports and game streaming leagues to reach out to the vast community of gaming enthusiasts and even pro-level gamers to scale their businesses. Rapid evolution of gaming platforms and also dedicated gaming communities both micro and macro is something marketers need to look out for


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Infinix Mobile anish kapoor mobile gaming

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