With Gen-Zs and Millenials spending more time on gaming, the segment has now become a mainstream form of entertainment. It has become a community that enables social connection and fosters a sense of belongingness, competitive spirit, achievement, and collaboration, said Salone Sehgal, General Partner, Lumikai in interaction with BW Gaming World. Edited excerpts:
Q1. Why do we need a platform like Lumikai Pathbreakers and how has it helped in attracting or encouraging more women to contribute to the segment?
Ans- The gaming industry has long been perceived as a male bastion in terms of both players and the workforce that is building the segment. However, with the advent of mobile gaming, we witnessed a massive demographic expansion where now 40% of all global gamers across platforms (PC, console, mobile) are women. For me, it is critical that game makers and creators look more like the audiences they are building for.
Thus, it became important to recognise those women who are already building the ecosystem and encouraging more female change makers to join the industry. Lumikai Pathbreakers became that initiative. We believe that “if you cannot see it, you cannot be it,” – so we diligently ensure adequate role models and representation.
I strongly believe that Pathbreakers is more than an initiative that commemorates women in the gaming segment. It is a platform that encourages more women to pursue the business of gaming while knowing they have these women mentors who have paved the way before them. So, a combination of representation and recognition enables Lumikai Pathbreakers to attract and encourage more women to contribute to the sector.
Q2. What according to you is the present state of women in gaming? Do you think we have achieved a mark or still have a long way to go?
Ans- Women constitute 49 per cent of mobile gamers in India, but female representation in the gaming landscape as founders, game developers, and creators is still an area of concern. By 2030, the industry can hope to have 50-50 representation and participation, but that will only be possible if there is much momentum and work on the ground level now. This is where platforms like Pathbreakers play an important role. Initiatives like this catalyze conversations, facilitate dialogue and encourage gender diversity – everything that we as an industry need to be doing on a larger scale.
The present state of women gamers in the country is promising. It offers a peek into the true potential of women in the industry. Though we have a long way to go, conversations and initiatives like Pathbreakers and the inclusion of more women in the workforce will act as a catalyst. Every effort is a step in the right direction, and I believe the next couple of years will be pivotal and instrumental in achieving that goal.
Q3. What are the major changes you have witnessed in the gaming sector pre and post COVID-19?
Ans- The Indian gaming market is estimated at USD 2.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to triple to USD 7 billion by 2026. Much of this growth is expected to be driven by growth in mid-core, core, and casual mobile game genres. The pandemic resulted in an increase in the adoption of gaming as a means of entertainment, with more than 450 million gamers in the country.
Over the course of the pandemic, we witnessed a paradigm shift in digital entertainment. Gaming usage, adoption, and engagement across genres witnessed a 50-70 per cent increase. Combined with the massive proliferation of smartphones and cheap data rates (India has the highest data usage per smartphone in the world, i.e., 18G billion per month), gaming has been the biggest beneficiary of this digital transformation. Post the pandemic, 67 per cent of India’s millennials are now active gamers, and approximately one in every five mobile game downloads worldwide is from India. Thus, India’s gaming and interactive media sector are on an unprecedented growth trajectory.
Q4. Could you share your thoughts on how the next 5 years will pan out for women in the gaming industry?
Ans- With Gen-Zs and Millenials spending more time on gaming, the segment has now become a mainstream form of entertainment. It has become a community that enables social connection and fosters a sense of belongingness, competitive spirit, achievement, and collaboration.
As per a recent report, 77 per cent of female gamers in India spend an average of 53 minutes per day on games. Thus gaming is now universal. I believe that platforms like Pathbreakers will prompt more women to become entrepreneurs/ creators/ game-makers of the future, more companies to hire diverse talent, and more gaming and interactive experiences to be built for a different and wider variety of audiences. Thus, I strongly believe that in the next five years, we will have more women in C-suite roles, as developers, and as the workforce that will drive the community forward.