Market Insight

Indian ISPs court games publishers to boost uptake of services

September 26, 2019

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Indian ISP ACT Fibernet has partnered with the free-to-play MMO developer Wargaming for the introduction of its new “Gaming Packs” – internet plans that are tailored to gamers. The plans are launching in conjunction with Wargaming’s World of Warships PC title, whereby players in India can collect in-game rewards such as a 30 or 60-day premium account upgrade, credits or items. There are two packages on offer, for one month (Basic) or six months (Ultra), with a variety of other benefits including internet speed boosts and game store coupons. For those who sign up, ACT Fibernet are also offering discounts on big new releases, including FIFA 20 and Cyberpunk 2077.

  Game Basic (1 month) Game Ultra (6 months)
Speed Boost 300 Mbps, 5x per month 300 Mbps, 10x per month
Data Boost 200 GB per month 1800 GB for 6 months
World of Warships Rs 1000 per month Rs 2000 per month
Games the Shop Rs 350 per month Rs 350 per month
Western Digital Rs 500 per month Rs 1000 per month
Zotac Rs 1000 per month Rs 1500 per month
Total benefits value Rs 3850 Rs 25700
Cost of package Rs 500 Rs 2000

Source: ACT Fibernet

World of Warships will offer country-specific features for India such as national ship camouflage, flags, skins and support for local languages. This type of culturalization is typically well-received, and helps build a strong rapport between the developer and the community. What’s more, according to Priori Data, World of Tanks Blitz – the mobile version of Wargaming’s flagship title World of Tanks – has been downloaded over 4m times in India, suggesting that the brand is already somewhat established.

Jio seeks to replicate mobile disruption with broadband service

ACT Fibernet are likely feeling the pressure from Reliance Jio, the telecom operator which brought low-cost, high-speed mobile data to the Indian market in 2016 and triggered a new wave of mobile gamers. Jio has recently launched an entry-level fibre broadband offering. Competition in this sector is heating up, with Jio likely hoping to reproduce its mobile success and increase its share of the telecoms market. As such, ISPs are seeking new ways to differentiate themselves, and gamer-friendly internet packages may attract consumers.

The Jio Fiber network promises a zero-latency gaming experience in 4K resolution through the Jio set-top box, which supports cloud gaming. However, practically, latency will exist whether in fibre, cable or wireless 5G. The set-top box is included in all the fibre packages for free, together with Jio Home Gateway. Jio is planning to introduce a multiplayer online network for gamers with this set-top box, and it will be the first in India. The company is working with leading game publishers like Microsoft, Riot Games, Tencent, Gameloft and Milestone to bring in more titles. Unlike ACT Fibernet which offers 1Gbps speed in Chennai and Bangalore only, the Jio Fibre network offers network speeds of up to 1Gbps in all 1600 cities, and represents the first 100% all-fibre broadband service provider in India.

Optimistic outlook for PC gaming in India, but mobile will remain dominant

It is unlikely that we will see a boom in PC gamer numbers comparable to that of mobile. The most successful app store titles in India are free-to-play, lightweight offerings such as Garena Free Fire, PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite. These games capitalize on the growing penetration of low-spec smartphones in the country. In contrast, a gaming PC represents a far greater investment in terms of both money and time. However, HP has recently been targeting gamers in India with its entry and mid-level hardware and has gained a considerable share of the market in a short time, suggesting that PC gaming remains a legitimate opportunity.

World of Warships will also face competition, as PUBG Lite for PC also recently launched there, and the PUBG IP carries enormous weight in India thanks to the viral success of the mobile version. PUBG Lite is also optimised for low-end hardware builds. World of Warships, however, has reasonably low spec requirements, and the excitement surrounding PUBG may have whet appetites for further, military-themed experiences.

Reliance Jio Infocomm
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