Video games are often a hot topic on Twitter, and the current increase can be directly related by the Coronavirus pandemic, as it has eliminated many other forms of entertainment.
More than two billion gaming posts were sent out on Twitter in 2020. According to a blog update by Twitter, the staggering number represents a growth rate of 75% year-on-year.
Moreover, there was a 49% increase in unique authors on the social platform.
The majority of tweets originated from Japan, the US and Korea, in that order. However, Brazil, Thailand, the UK, France, India, the Philippines and Spain also cracked the top 10 countries.
But before we move into core numbers and graphs, we caught up with Rishi Chadha, Head of Gaming Content Partnerships at Twitter to talk about trends in gaming on Twitter, India’s potential for cloud gaming to catch on and a lot more.
2020 was a year like no other, but with over 2 BILLION Tweets, it was also the biggest year yet for Gaming conversation 🔥👏🏽📈🤯
Check out our global gaming insights for 2020 below 👇🏽👇🏽https://t.co/N1pRAOcAJD
— Rishi Chadha (@RdotChadha) January 11, 2021
Before we dive in, its worth noting that Rishi Chadha runs the conversation on Twitter when it comes to the world of gaming. Whether it be by concentrating the global partnerships, advertisers and gaming news, or the discussions of opinion leaders and fans in real-time. Since he joined Twitter in 2017, he’s launched new content partnerships with developers like Activision Blizzard and Riot Games and also grew the live streaming platform on the social network.
We do know of certain titles that Indians are fanatical about – PUBG Mobile, Clash Royale, CS: GO, and Valorant to name a few. But India’s gaming industry has seen a ginormous growth and that’s undoubtedly been mobile gaming. So I had to start off by asking Chadha about how important he thought was it for industry players to acknowledge the rise of mobile gaming in India.
Question: Based on conversations on Twitter and data points you have on your end, do you think India will really catch on with markets like the US, Europe in terms of PC, Console game consumption?
Chadha: I think it is no secret that mobile gaming continues to be a large part of the gaming that happenning in India. I do think that platforms, publishers and developers are beginning to realise that they need to make their titles accessable across multiple platforms.
The whole industry’s has shifted from a platform specific type of game to platform agnostic type games.
Games like PUBG, Fortnite and Among Us – some of the most talked about games in India – you can play them on any platform. And you can play these games with one another on multiple platforms too. So I think we’re recognising that the consumption habits and the platforms that people are using are a little different wherever you go and in India its no different.
There’s a lot of mobile use but I also think we’ve also seen that PC usage is increasing. We’ve seen that with things like CounterStrike. You know CounterStrike continues to be among the most talked about games in India. So I think that we’ve going to continue to see some interest there.
Consoles are going to be interesting too. With these new consoles were now moving away from just having to have a console, especially like the new Xbox. We’re now in a world where the Xbox can be used we have a service like Game Pass and you can stream your games, and then you have Stadia and there are games that are built for that platform.
So I think the whole industry is shifting but specific to India, mobile continues to be a dominant space and we are now seeing the prominence of social games too that people are utilising to connect with one another especially now that we’re all stuck at home.
I always like to say that gaming has no borders and the fandom is global but there are certain exceptions to that rule. If you look at the global level, a lot of conversation from Europe and Asia drives games like Fate/Grand Order, which doesn’t really have a lot of popularity in the US.
What do the numbers say?
Chadha: Globally we’ve seen that PUBG tends to be a top 10 game in conversation, but in India its number 1 most popular game. Its incredibly fascinating to see that popularity, but we’re also seeing games like Fortnite coming in at number 2 and then Call of Duty. We then see CounterStrike show up on that list too. Now, CounterStrike isn’t even in the top 10 in most other regions, so that’s another interesting data point. Moving on we see a game that came out only in August 2020, Among Us – feature at number 5 on that list.
It’s really impressive to see the fandom that’s happening in just a short period of time. The way they utilised Twitter [speaking of Among Us], what they’re doing on Twitter and how they’re using it. When they launched a Twitter account from what was just a developer account, we worked with them and that’s when they teased their new map. It became a big deal with people getting excited about the map and that made a splash on the platform.
On the publisher side, that’s one that we’ve seen that [data points] it’s pretty similar. Nintendo is number 1 which continues to be a trend across the world. Tencent is high up as well because of the variety of games that they support. Epic is at number 3 and then we have EA, Ubisoft and Nexon.
The E-sports team list was particularly interesting too. I really expected this list to be different but we’ve seen the top three teams that are talked about in India are pretty similar to the rest of the globe. FaZe Clan, G2 Esports and Fnatic. The rest of the list gets interesting too as now you get to see teams like T1, Origen and Astralis which round up the top six. But it speaks of the fact that almost all these teams have a CS:GO team and CS:GO is also among the most popular games so there’s an overlap of fandom here.
Now, just in terms of conversation insights, its no secret that PUBG has dominated the conversation in India and the fandom around PUBG Mobile related things – whether its in game events or the potential return of PUBG – all these things just goes to show the following that the game has in India.
We’re also seeing [conversations] pick up around big events like whether its the reveal of the the PS5 or The Game Awards. We also see a spike in conversations around specific eSports tournaments and things like that.
Cloud Gaming and its potential in India
5G isn’t too far away in the reckoning for India and coupled with the fact that mobile data rates are already quite affordable here, the onset of cloud gaming being a rage in years to come seems inevitable. So I could help but ask Chadha for his take was on cloud gaming and its potential in India.
“The bandwidth required to play most of these games are incredibly high and so making 4G more accessible is incredibly crucial,” notes Chadha.
“We see that with everything around us. As our consumption habits have changed across the board, we’re consuming more content than ever – while that’s on a mobile phone on the go or at home. So, having that infrastructure for 4G has been extremely helpful in allowing more people play the games that they like on their mobile phones.”
“Cloud gaming is definitely the future. Look at the consoles that have just come out, you’ve seen that now they’re providing ones without disks that let you download your games, so there’s potential there. There’s Stadia, there’s Microsoft xCloud program, so cloud gaming is definitely where we’re all moving towards and going back to that idea that you don’t really need a console to play a game. You can play on any device, as long as there’s a service you’re paying for.”
Chadha believes that the microtransaction model and free-to-play models that we’ve seen with games like PUBG, Fortnite and Call of Duty: Mobile have played a key role in making games more accessible. “So you have a perfect recipe and a big component of that has been the improvement of 4G.”
“What’s been interesting to see is the two different strategies at work here. I personally don’t believe that its a Sony vs Microsoft conversation anymore because there’s basically a divergence in strategy.”
“Sony is thinking about first party titles and what they’re doing specifically with their console, whereas, Xbox has said, alright, let’s build a service with Game Pass and lets make that service available anywhere. So it doesn’t have be on an Xbox or a PC but any mobile device. So that’ll be interesting to see how it makes an impact on consumption habits in India,” adds Chadha.
All about the second screen experience
No matter where a video game is being broadcast, people come to Twitter to talk about it. We’re really about that second screen experience that compliments all the other platforms. I think we’re in the conversation era of the internet and the conversation era of the gaming and eSports industry at large.
Chadha notes that fans are usually seen watch live events and simultaneously use Twitter to post highlights and eventually build a conversation on the platform. “We recognise that we have a role in fostering conversation and continuing to provide an opportunity for that conversation to be discovered by a much larger audience. So we’re going to continue to double down on that.”