Indian board game Ludo King crossed 500 million downloads on Google Play Store. Mobile gaming has created a forum not just for entertainment but also for social interactions as people are advised to stay home and practice social isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gaming won not only because it became a secure ‘stay-at-home’ option across age groups, but also because in times of social distance it allowed human contact and community bonding. “Instead of reducing spending away from outdoor entertainment, cinema, and concerts to OTT and gaming, consumers are rebalancing,” KPMG said.
As a consequence, in Q1 2020, gaming app downloads zoomed, and in-app purchases have increased dramatically. As per AppBrain, three out of the top five highest-grossing apps in India are in the gaming category.
India is also according to KPMG, the largest emerging market for gaming app downloads (three billion annually) and the world’s fastest-growing market for mobile gaming. On average, as per industry estimates, gaming platforms reported user growth of 60-70 percent, while time spent grew by 50-60 percent during the lockdown. Some like Ludo King, were outliers, recording a staggering year-round rise in downloads and traffic.
An increase in users and longer hours of engagement also meant that gaming companies saw a decline in consumer acquisition costs by 60-70 percent, thus improving their margins and profitability.
According to Maple Capital Advisors, India has over 320 million gamers today, and that number is projected to rise to 47 percent by 2022.
Casual board games, real-money gaming (RMG), and fantasy sports are categories that see the highest uptick. Although the current population of online gamers is predominantly young (18-24) and male, many gaming sites in the 25-35 age group have also seen a rise in users. Some like Paytm First Games also had 35-45 users. More participation from women is also seen in casual board games.
Ludo King entered the top 5 most downloaded and top 3 most played games worldwide, driven largely by the game’s popularity during COVID-19 lockdown in India. Based on a familiar traditional board game model, the mobile app featured online multiplayer support with the ability to quickly generate game invites to share through popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp Messenger, which fuelled rapid adoption among friends and families looking to digitally recreate the board game experience.
Ludo King has consistently ranked among India’s top ten downloaded apps across both gaming and non-gaming categories.
The casual board game from homegrown has overtaken popular titles like Candy Crush Saga, PUBG, Clash of Clans, Subway Surfers, and others in monthly active users. Ludo King adds a modern touch to Pachisi‘s royal game, which used to be played in ancient times between Indian kings and queens.