Democratisation of gaming is finally here: HP’s Vickram Bedi 

Democratisation of gaming is finally here: HP’s Vickram Bedi 

Vickram Bedi, Senior Director, Personal Systems, HP Inc, India, chats with Business Today about why gaming is a huge segment for HP.  

Vickram Bedi, Senior Director, Personal Systems, HP Inc, India believes over the last couple of years, actually, the business has been extremely strong. Vickram Bedi, Senior Director, Personal Systems, HP Inc, India believes over the last couple of years, actually, the business has been extremely strong.

HP recently launched a whole range of laptops and desktops under their Omen and Victus series, bringing the focus back on gaming and the India market. The company says the Indian market is significant for them and that the interest in gaming continues to rise.  

According to the HP India Gaming Landscape Report 2021, 9 out of 10 gamers preferred PCs for gaming over smartphones and 37 per cent of mobile gamers want to shift to a PC for a better gaming experience. Additionally, about 8 of every 10 respondents of the survey said that they were open to considering a professional career in the gaming sector. 

To know more about how HP plans to tap into this, we spoke to Vickram Bedi, Senior Director, Personal Systems, HP Inc, India, and here are some edited excerpts from our chat.  

Business Today (BT): Do tell us how things have been for HP for the last couple of years? 

Vickram Bedi (VB): I think for us, over the last couple of years, actually, the business has been extremely strong, as you will see from market share results declared publicly, the overall category has done really well. But within that we've grown faster than the market. And this is across all sub-segments, be it commercial-grade or consumer-grade.   

The customers’ needs have changed from working in office work and studying in school to doing pretty much everything from home, at least for the foreseeable past. The intent now is to work from home, learn from home, and more and accordingly we’ve changed the roadmap, for strategies and delivery strategies to suit that atmosphere. This has helped us overdrive on value on the market share side as well.  

On the consumer-side of things, we've actually had very, very strong results, whether you look at the IDC market share, or you look at the GFK market shares, which are more based on offline sale.  

And then within that we've also grown very rapidly in gaming. In fact, gaming is great for us. We've been maintaining for quite some time as a brand, that the India market is going to do really, really well on gaming, I remember some of the interactions going back three years or so, when the market was small. In fact, there were questions being asked to me at that time about why are you guys are investing so much in this segment? 

So as a big roadmap, you can really see the growth. And we had mentioned even at that time saying, given the demographics in the country, and given the fact that we have a very insight-based roadmap, we have insights from customers - gaming is going to grow very, very rapidly in India. So it's really good to see that coming through.  

To the extent that now, India might emerge as one of the top three TAMs (Total Addressable Market) for gaming globally, which is, of course, a proud moment. And then for us within that to be able to enable our gamers to compete at a global level with the right roadmap and accessories, the right experience - has also been a very fulfilling journey for us, especially on the gaming side.   

So overall, I think a great business outcome for the past two, three years, strong market, strong demand. And what we were calling the democratisation of gaming has finally happened. Everybody is a gamer, which is what we have maintained, and which is why you see the growth of underlying consumer is driven to a large degree by gaming, and we have more than benefited from customer preference standpoint.
BT: These conversations about India as a gaming market has been going on for a while for you. What do you think ideally directs or has controlled the landscape as far as gaming is concerned? 

VB: I think the fact that we have a very young population, and one of the youngest populations in the world. Also the fact that we've driven innovation in terms of not only where you can buy online plus offline, also how you can buy it, rather than paying upfront, but then be able to break it down into installments and buy it and then enable an experience where customers could come into a store, and then experience the gaming zones.  

Post-purchase these people can also participate in platforms where they can come and actually learn from some of the better gamers, along with all the community work we have done around gaming, to help them learn from influencers who are already strong gamers to be able to compete on a global scale.  

All of those things have helped, driven by our insight upfront that given the demographics and given that gaming is one of the hot points of the Indian youth, it will do well. And then from there, we launched a strategy of the product, the placement of it, the pricing, as we talked either upfront or installments. And then finally, the experience of it.  

We have written what we call the experience requirement document from a gamer standpoint, and then slowly but surely over quarters we have delivered to that requirement. It’s a journey - there's always more to do. But I feel like we've enabled all these different options for our customers and hence the growth.  

BT: Specifically, over the last two years, what sort of growth curve have you seen in India,  given the pandemic and given the fact that while people did have way more time on their hands to play as compared to the global scale?  

 VB: Pretty much higher than what we’ve seen globally, which is why we managed to catch up and become one of the top three TAMs and I am talking about our market size, globally. So, the Indian gaming market has grown much more rapidly than globally. And as a result, now, because we're sitting down with one of the largest TAMs.  

BT: Mobile gaming has always been very important for gamers in India. And from that the transition to using a PC or a laptop for gaming. So, what sort of a transition have you seen over the last two years, particularly the pandemic?  

VB: Massive transition, which is why the numbers have transitioned right? I mean, almost everybody who's buying a laptop already has a smartphone and we know smartphone gaming is big in India. At the start we had initially done our own study, we found out that almost 80 per cent of mobile phone gamers wanted to try/use/buy a PC for gaming as well. This is all because we stay so connected, like I said, our whole approach is insight-driven, and this we had seen almost three years ago.  

So, most of this growth that we're seeing right now would have come from customers who already have a smartphone, because the smartphone base in India is so big, and they would have experienced gaming on smartphones already so a lot of this growth will have come from that place.  

BT: So, what’s next for HP? 

VB: Next, I think, you know, obviously we continue to do our work in terms of driving the overall growth and I'm sure our peers are doing to enable more gaming options for most of our customers. And that's from a product standpoint, we obviously have a very successful brand at Omen, Pavilion Gaming. Now, we've seen massive success on Victus.    

And that that roadmap is just rolling out wherever it goes. Often there's a roadmap and more and more innovation gets built in as we go forward, whether it's about the thermals or the acoustics, speed refresh ratios, overclocking, or even delivering gaming-class performance, while also slimming down. And then as things do open up, we are now re-imagining and re-delivering our pro-gaming experiences in our store, the game equipment, and also then the community element we’ve talked about where gamers can learn to be better gamers, start participating in the eSports arenas and more.