Metaverse is changing how we experience and interact within the internet space. As the name implies “metaverse” simply means beyond the universe. A virtual space built upon immersive technology.
The development of Metaverse has been on the rise over the past two years; we have seen traditional companies adopting this innovation and startups diving in replete numbers. The development of the Metaverse in India is our subject for concentration.
India’s Gaming Metaverse Industry
India is one of the growing gaming markets, with mobile and computer video games making up a large portion of it. In 2020, India marked 450 million users, second only to China. India’s young demographic—46 per cent of the under-25 population is a significant contributor to the user base. The pandemic-related lockdowns and the spread of internet connectivity gave the gaming industry a thrust to expand.
2021 data holds it that the Indian gaming industry is largely a mobile-gaming industry with more than 90 per cent share, whereas PC gaming contributes about 9 per cent, and console gaming, 4 per cent. Most users in India are casual gamers who play games that do not require mastery in the game and involve less monetary rewards, if at all any. While the mobile-based casual-gaming industry generated nearly US$0.7 billion in 2021, the e-sports sector earned US$ 26 million. For holistic development of the metaverse industry in India, both casual and e-sports industries will need to expand.
Games such as e-sports provide a platform for the virtual world to introduce content relevant to the game more generically with parallel to the real world, which the metaverse seeks to leverage. With online games such as Minecraft, players get the power to create a virtual world. In India, this has given rise to a Minecraft content-creating community that streams their virtual world on YouTube and monetises it. This allows the content creator to make a variety of content for sharing and use it for streaming or selling as NFT.
The Indian gaming and animation industry has taken the first step in developing content that is unique to India. Loka, for instance, is a New Delhi-based start-up which is the country’s first multiplayer gamified virtual metaverse. It has created a 3D map of real-world cities and geographical spaces. OneRare is another start-up which has launched its first play-to-earn food metaverse game in March 2021.
Indian metaverse developers can harness the power of the country’s epics and folklore as a premise for games. Ikonz, a Singapore-headquartered start-up by entrepreneur Abhinav Kalidindi, for example, is creating NFTs for iconic characters from graphic novels published by Amar Chitra Katha. Raji, an Indian game that is centred around mythological stories, has also been released. A Gurugram-based start-up, Totality Corporation, is building its gaming engine called Zion which enables users to make avatars and digital assets like weapons in the game for NFT based on the Ethereum blockchain framework. The virtual world built using Zion is called the ZionVerse, where the user owns the intellectual property and digital assets. NFTs for the metaverse released by ZionVerse are Trimurti based on Hindu deities, and the LakshmiZionVerse claims to have sold more than 5,000 NFTs in 19 days to more than 3,000 users. This shows the interest of buyers in the Indian NFT market.
Amidst the profitability of India’s Metaverse Gaming Industry, the challenges faced included: Privacy concerns, the safety of its users, cyber-syndrome and data security amongst others.