Gaming as a market in India has been attempting to take off in the last two decades but to little avail. Indian gamers are used to being ignored by developers and hardware manufacturers as the market isn’t considered to be viable.
The refusal of a global giant like Nintendo to sell its hardware in India or the lack of India specific servers for online games repeatedly reinforces the same. However, times have begun to change as Indian gamers have made their presence felt with free to play games.
Games like PUBG and Fortnite have seen Indian players throng in numbers and slowly but surely, we as a community have begun to climb up the ranks. At a juncture when gaming as a leisure-time activity in India is poised to go mainstream, it is interesting to view developers beginning to take the Indian market seriously.
One such case is the re-launch of World of Warships, by Wargaming, a game that simulates naval warfare. The re-launch of the title has seen the developer include some specific modifications and add-ons for Indian players.
The game’s modifications are not merely cosmetic as the bonus content not only includes specific Indian skins and camouflage material, but there are also in place several partnerships with several key Indian gaming partners.
Wargaming has also added specific sections of Indian navy history to the game along with specific ships and museums. The specific partnerships along with the precise development for the Indian market implies that in-game purchases have been priced by keeping the Indian gamer in mind as opposed to other games where we tend to pay a dollar-based conversion figure.
These developments by World of Warships need to be appreciated because it is a move that is much-awaited. Indian gamers have been craving legitimacy of sorts for a while. While we have made steady progress with the rise of game-streaming and e-sports teams that represent India on the global stage, a lot is still desired.
The global narrative of India as a nation that views gaming as a vestigial or ancillary leisure time activity needs to be challenged and tapping into the immense potential of free-to-play games seems the right way forward.