Covid-19 has led to a mass migration of people to digital platforms. This trend was already underway before the outbreak of the pandemic, however, this has accelerated it further. Many more people are now using online gaming platforms as compared to the last year. The growth could have been stagnant or moving slowly but the last few months of lockdown have changed this significantly.
A leading online gaming platform reported that after the lockdowns were imposed, traffic to its site surged by 30%. on weekends. Also, Paytm First Games saw its user base increase by 200% during the lockdown. Global gaming sites like YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming have reported a surge of 20% in traffic to their sites. Without a doubt, the increase in traffic to gaming sites is directly correlated with the pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
Now that the country and the world are slowly getting back to normal, the onus is on online gaming companies to retain those who started using their platforms during the lockdown. To carry the momentum they garnered during the lockdown, the esports and online gaming giants are adopting new strategies.
While witnessing unprecedented growth in revenue during the lockdown, Indian Gaming League (IGL) has structured various competitions to ensure that they are able to maintain customer engagement and retention. They aim to monetise the growth of users through various high payout tournaments.
Yash Pariani, Founder and CEO, Indian Gaming League says “To retain the users once the unlock is implemented, it is important to segregate different games which target different age groups and schedule the tournament at a suitable time for the masses. With a large number of casual gamers opting for the E-sports, separate leagues and tournaments should be conducted for professional and casual gamers as keeping their leagues the same could eventually decrease the users. We have increased the number of daily tournaments to 10 matches a day in order to ensure we have sufficient slots available”.
Yash further adds “Since the surge in growth of the lockdown, the aim is to retain the users via engagement by offering up grand tournaments with high prize pools held over a few weeks.”
Post-March 2020, IGL has seen more than 1000% growth in terms of the total views and the watch time on its YouTube channel which broadcasts their daily Pubg Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile live streams. IGL has managed to clock over 3000 hours of watch time in the month of May itself.
Varun Mahna, CEO & Founder of PokerDangal, an online poker gaming platform flagship product of Xeta Networks said, “Retention of customers in Real Money Gaming is a function of multiple things. From customer experience to business promotions to high-value tournaments, the different player seeks different things. We have a mechanism whereby we bucket the users as per their past behavior and offer customized solutions that will be attractive for our players.”
The company very aggressively worked on its acquisition spends during lockdown which has resulted in a very positive story for them. The challenge is now to engage with these consumers and make them regulars on its platform. PokerDangal intends to utilise their expertise to engage with the customers with a variety of bonus offerings/tournaments along with providing them a great customer experience. Mahna believes that the revenue will continue to grow strong post the unlock as well and the business will continue to grow 30-40% QoQ. He expects the active player base will increase by 50% as online gaming is going to get into the mainstream post lockdown.
9Stacks has the best promotions in the gaming industry. Each segment of players has exciting challenges that generate bonuses for them, and these get refreshed every week. “For the first time in the poker industry, we are introducing voice-enabled tables, where you can actually talk to your friends as you play – earlier there was just a chat feature,” says Sudhir Kamath, CEO & Co-Founder, 9Stacks.
“When you consider that feature along with our industry-leading promotions and private tables for users to play only with their friends and relatives, we think we have a recipe for lasting retention beyond the lockdown,” adds Kamath
Overall, the lockdown saw a 100% jump in new users and an overall 40-50% increase in paid active users on 9Stacks.
The company feels that uplift of 30-40% is here to stay beyond the lockdown. 9Stacks’s current user base is around 3.5 lakh users.