NVIDIA has been a key player in the booming and evolving landscape of video games in India. With a majority of the gamers here preferring PCs as their primary gaming device, NVIDIA has a big market for potential customers. And if their recent initiatives over the last few years are any clue, they have been doing a fantastic job of growing this audience of gamers. Their in-livestreaming team incorporates some of the best talent across the country, including an array of gaming enthusiasts, tech experts, cosplayers and more. In fact, NVIDIA India has also been very supportive of Gaming Central, especially in our early days.
We have worked closely with them on several occasions, and at the recent NVIDIA Gamer Connect, Hyderabad, we figured that now was a great time to check in with Vamsi Krishna (Head – Consumer Marketing for South Asia at NVIDIA), and get his thoughts on where the Indian games/hardware industry and culture stands today, and also where it is headed to.
Vamsi started off addressing Gamer Connect itself, and what the bigger picture he has in mind.
“What we’re doing in Hyderabad is just a small piece of the larger strategy. It’s a snowball effect that begins with developing influencers. The number one strategy for me is to develop influencers that have a vested interest in gaming, who want to be seen in gaming and want to make a career out of their passion. We already have a team of 10 influencers, and hope to grow it significantly.”
This initiative has paid off visibly for NVIDIA. One can clearly see their livestreams on social media across the country, and many gamers are avid fans of the content they create.
Speaking of content, Vamsi says, “The second piece of the strategy is content itself. You need to talk about your product, about the games and e-sports. You need to create excitement among youngsters. Content plays an important role, and we create all of our content in our offices.”
With the immense amount of quality content that NVIDIA puts out across their social platforms, they have been able to engage their audience in an effective manner.
He then speaks about their Gaming Cafe Program, where they partner with Gaming Cafes across the country and support them with hardware, interior designing and so on. It has now become a go-to spot for gamers to hangout, chat and play games together.
“In Gaming Cafes, we proceeded very systematically. We reached out to the existing cafe owners, understand the challenges they faced, and then educate them about how they can build up on what they already have. We realized and made them realized that gamers are coming to the cafe not just to play games. They are coming to have an experience – it could be game time, it could be food and beverage, or just chilling with friends, watching gaming tournaments, and so on. By shifting the focus from just game time and the money involved to the overall experience, we’ve been able to offer a more compelling product for the gaming enthusiast”
NVIDIA certified gaming cafes are very popular across cities in the country. They have three tiers – Silver, Gold and Platinum. When gamers go to a Platinum certified cafe, they know that they will be playing on powerful PCs, there will be e-sports grade chairs, great food, and an experience that is worth their money.
However, NVIDIA aims to grow things to an even bigger scale.
“E-sports is an untapped market in India. We created a report that highlights the untapped potential that games as a form of entertainment have in India. It’s an A to Z guide for an investor who may not understand gaming, but wants to invest in entertainment. We are now reaching out to large investors, and had an investor meeting with the help of Telangana government. We presented the plan and they loved it. Once these big investors start putting money into gaming in India, you’ll see an exponential growth in the next few years. Imagine the snowball effect this could have. Clans get formed, people start experience the best of video games, best of the hardware, and even start building more careers based on gaming.”
While there are millions of gamers in the country, it’s often hard for them to come together in a meaningful way and enjoy games. NVIDIA’s Gamer Connect caters to this very need. It focuses on bringing gamers together, and offering them gaming experience they probably will not have otherwise.
“We, at Gamer Connect, are focusing on 4K Gaming and Virtual Reality, which you will not often find at retails stores and even cafes. We’re showcasing the latest AAA titles on the best hardware. This complimented by fun challenges and tournaments for gamers to participate in. The core of it is still the experience. We aim for all of this to fall into place in a way that by 2020 India becomes one of the largest gaming countries in the world.”
What Vamsi says makes a lot of sense. The internet penetration in the country reaches over half a billion people, and half of the population is below 30 years of age. And almost everyone has a smartphone. Kids from the age of 5 years are playing on mobile platforms. Even families are playing games together, and suddenly gaming becomes a more acceptable household activity. India is already the second largest gaming country in the world. There’s a visible audience that can easily move towards a more hardcore gaming culture.
Vamsi then addresses the power of social media. “With more and more gamers streaming games online ion India, playing them professionally, it creates the same desire in others to do the same. You can be a pro gamers, a game developer, or even start your own gaming cafe. Now with the government taking an interest in developing the gaming scene, it only goes upwards from here.”
It’s encouraging to see big gaming brands taking an interest in developing a community around gaming in India, especially on such a large scale. We have already been seeing the impact this has had in the the country, as more and more gamers start connecting with each other and sharing their experiences.
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