Create

“PC gaming is slowly becoming a more preferred choice in India”: Sooraj Balakrishnan, Head-Marketing at Acer India

Sooraj Balakrishnan, Head-Marketing at Acer India on the Indian video games industry
Sooraj Balakrishnan, Head-Marketing at Acer India on the Indian video games industry

The Indian video game market has seen staggering growth over the past couple of years, not just in the field of revenue generation, but in terms of community engagement as well.

PC and console gaming is on the rise, and many market leaders feel that in the next 5 years, the bridge between these platforms and mobile will be minimized significantly.

Abhishek Mallick from Sportskeeda Esports got in touch with Sooraj Balakrishnan, Head-Marketing at Acer India, to talk about the growth that PC gaming has had in India ever since the pandemic induced lockdown began. He talked about how affordability and availability play a crucial role in helping PC slowly become a more preferred choice for gamers in the nation.

Here is an excerpt of the conversation.


Q. Sir, you have been quite vocal about the growth of the Indian video games scene and how the market in various aspects of the industry has seen an exponential rise in revenue and community engagement over the last couple of years. What are your thoughts on where the nation’s video games and esports market stands today? And where do you see it in the next 5 years?

Sooraj Balakrishnan: The esports segment is on the rise in India. In 2021, the market size has quickly scaled to INR 3 billion and we expect it to reach INR 11 billion by FY 2025. With the increased popularity among the youth, esports has become a prominent option for brands.

As we know, COVID-19 lockdowns have boosted user engagement with video games and esports to become an alternative to outdoor social and recreational activities. With the pandemic-led shift in, the habit has encouraged many mobile gamers to pursue an upgrade in gaming experience to look at PCs as a feasible option, driving up demand for gaming PCs in India.

We have seen a rapid rate of growth, resulting in the rise of numerous trends that will continue to shape the gaming sector moving forward.


Q. When it comes to technology trends, grassroots accessibility, or the video game title itself, what would you say has been one of the biggest benefactors behind the growth that the video games industry has seen so far? Or do you feel that they each have equal roles to play in creating a sustainable and profitable ecosystem in the market?

Sooraj Balakrishnan: I would say both, with greater emphasis on grassroots accessibility, as these will come as broadband and high-speed internet penetration increases. Most of the grass-roots level market is currently dominated by mobile gamers, but as they get more serious in taking up gaming, they will look into getting powerful gaming PCs.

It is also important to take gaming from just a casual hobby to the level of a competitive sporting event, with the potential to earn a living like any other physical sport. This will bring in more players into the esports ecosystem.

youtube-cover

The lockdown has pushed up the age of gamers; before it was a much younger audience. Now we see 25 to 35-year-olds buy gaming PCs and play games. With more players coming, it is now slowly becoming a sustainable user base for brands to work with and grow this industry.

There is no doubt that local lockdowns across India augmented the consciousness of esports, however, year-on-year growth was already in before that.


Q. Acer did announce plans to tap into VR and the esports side of the PC market, pointing it out as an eventuality on their roadmap. How are the plans coming along? What steps have Acer already taken or will take in its plan to become one of the markets leads in the Indian gaming industry?

Sooraj Balakrishnan: The VR gaming market is projected to be the main driver of revenue growth in the next couple of years. However, in India, VR is still a niche market, but a lot of millennials are eager to spend that extra buck for the experience.

Apart from other industries like travel, health, education, automobiles, gaming drawing the most attention, things look exciting for the future of the global gaming industry. Acer has already established its strong base in the VR gaming division.

youtube-cover

Also, we are constantly trying to enhance the user experience with innovative audio and visual technologies and have brought to our consumers the most comfortable and easier-than-ever-to-use headset.


Q. What’s Acer’s take on the Indian video games scene, in terms of demographics and psychographics? What gaming consumer insights would you say are informing its “India Strategies”?

Sooraj Balakrishnan: India is witnessing the dawn of a fascinating new era of entertainment. An era driven by highly competitive video games and an ever-growing millennial workforce that is remarkably breaking barriers of an age-old broadcast segment with supreme enthusiasm and energy. In an increasingly virtual world, never has there been as much attention on gaming and its role as a powerful social connection.

There’s a typecast that only the people who play video games are young boys. This image has persisted over the years, but with the intensification of smartphones, the gaming demographic has dramatically shifted.

youtube-cover

While many women have always been interested in video games, it isn’t until smartphones came into the picture that the idea of gaming became more mainstream. Part of the appeal of these games is their broader appeal to various demographics.

In India, PC gaming is becoming a preferred choice and this shift can be accredited to factors such as quality of affordability, availability of high-end hardware and software, and improved internet bandwidth.

Another benefit is that getting a gaming PC means your other tasks like coding, productivity apps, content creation, etc also become much easier due to its inherent power, making light work of the tasks. It is a do-it machine.

Acer has joined PC gaming five years back and has maintained the No.1 position in gaming laptops over many quarters. I can proudly say that we have entered the market at the right time with a wide range of products.

Also, our payment options are helping budding and pro gamers to make ownership easier through our range of payment plans, free accessories, extended warranties, etc.

youtube-cover

Q. Apart from expanding its peripherals in the competitive side of Indian video games, what are some of Acer’s plans to tap into the more casual side of gaming? Will the Predator and the Nitro series play a big role in attaining these goals?

Sooraj Balakrishnan: Gaming has moved from being a niche to being part of the lifestyle, and essentially, more and more people are gaming, using it to relieve stress as well as to socialize.

Acer led with a strong product portfolio ranging from Acer Aspire 7 gaming laptop for entry gamers, Nitro 5 for enthusiastic gamers to high-end alternatives like the Acer Predator range. Our Aspire 7 range is aimed at more casual gamers who need the power under the hood to play their favorite games when they want while still being affordable.

This formula has made Aspire 7 gaming laptop one of the online selling best-selling gaming laptops during peak sale season. Acer’s passion for innovation and focus on customer-centricity has taken the company to be No.1 in the Indian PC gaming industry for many years.

Our gaming range doesn’t end with PC; we also have full accessories like gaming headsets, mouse, keyboard, gaming chair, and our gaming monitor which has some of the best-selling models.

youtube-cover

Q. Mobile has been the dominant gaming platform for Indians for many years now. With PUBG Mobile (now Battlegrounds Mobile India) revolutionizing a major aspect of the nation’s esports scene, where do you feel PC esports stands today when compared to mobile, and will the staggering gap between these markets lessen in coming years?

Sooraj Balakrishnan: PC and mobile games require a completely different approach, from controls and graphics to optimization. But it’s not a secret for anyone that it is mobile games that have been at the top of the chart in the market for a long time.

I see the rise of mobile games and gamers as a positive trend. This means a percentage of them will want to take up gaming more seriously and they will then turn to a PC.

So in that sense, we are not competing with mobile gaming but rather offer a step up in gaming with a PC when they want to upgrade their experience.


Q. Titles like Riot Games’ Valorant have played a crucial role in bringing back engagement with PC esports in India. In light of this fact, what would you say are some of the things that the industry needs to implement to grow the PC scene?

Sooraj Balakrishnan: Valorant filled the void left by PUBG PC to a large extent and brought back the excitement in the PC esports scene. What we need is more such games by developers which are esports friendly and highly engaging for the players.

youtube-cover

More importantly, the developers should sustain the excitement with more game modes, maps, and other tactics which will help in the longevity of a game so that more professional teams will form around these games.


Q. What are your thoughts on the console gaming scene in India, and the impact that the next generation of PlayStation and Xbox devices can have on the Indian video games market?

Sooraj Balakrishnan: In India, there is a rise in the number of gaming enthusiasts, but also that more and more families are accepting high-quality console gaming as a way of entertainment.

However, Indian markets have been slower to adapt to console gaming when compared to other regions. This isn’t because console games are a bad experience, but it's more to do with where to spend your money.

Consoles can only do one thing well which is playing games, but a gaming PC can do so much more. You also have competitive tournaments happening on PC so if the consumer wants to take gaming more seriously, then PC serves as the ideal platform.

youtube-cover

Q. With Steam Deck on the way, PC games have never been more accessible to gamers around the world. With its upcoming launch in India, do you feel there will be a drastic change in the nation’s PC and Mobile gaming ecosystem?

Sooraj Balakrishnan: What Steam Deck will provide is access to play high-quality PC games in a handheld format. From a gamer’s point of view, this is one more device he or she can use to get into gaming. Obviously, it won’t be at the level of experience of a PC but that’s not what it is meant to do.

We will have to see the pricing, availability, service, etc. in India to understand how much of uptake it will get. But it reinforces the fact about the growth of the gaming industry as a whole and there is room for such types of devices to flourish as well.


Q. Will there be some exciting updates from Acer in the coming months that fans should be looking forward to?

Sooraj Balakrishnan: Acer is very confident about the Indian market. In the last 18 months, PC gaming has become more mainstream and the improvements in technology have powered consumer interest and adoption.

youtube-cover

What used to be just one type of device now has different segments in terms of its demand to diverse customer bases. Games have always been available and exciting; since last year, though, games have become a means for people to stay entertained as well. We have some very interesting and innovative set of products coming to market soon.

Quick Links

Edited by Ashish Yadav
Be the first one to comment