Widespread access to smartphones and the internet have brought online gaming closer to the masses in India. But female gamers are increasingly encountering abuse and threats online.
Sana (name changed), a 13-year-old gamer, said she was introduced to online gaming during the COVID pandemic.
"Everyone had to do online classes and that got them closer to their phones, which meant more social media and gaming. That's what happened to me as well," she said.
The online gaming industry has been booming in India in recent years. According to the State of India Gaming Report 2022, released by Lumikai, a gaming-focused venture capitalist fund, and Amazon Web Services, India currently is home to as many as 507 million gamers.
And the number of Indians getting into digital gaming is growing by 12% a year, given the country's vast young population. Around 27.3% of the nation's 1.4 billion people are aged between 15 and 29.
About 43% of the gamers in India are female, the study said, adding that women and girls spent on average of close to 11.2 hours per week playing games, while men spent 10.2 hours.