Currently, Gaming & Esports are one of the fastest growing industries rivalling and overshadowing traditional spaces like movies and music. However, it’s imperative to try and understand some of the driving factors for this entertainment behemoth. More than anything, this boom is driven by advancements in technology, and relatively easier access to hardware for both active participation and content consumption.
High-speed internet penetration
Whether you’re playing or watching, the one constant is a fast and steady internet connection. It doesn’t matter if you’re on mobile, console or PC ; a good internet connection is a must.
Until 2016, high-speed internet was a luxury only a few in India could afford. Since the restructuring of the domestic telecom industry, data has become affordable and relatively faster. From being a luxury that only the affluent could buy, high-speed internet today is available to the masses comfortably. India has some of the most affordable data plans than anywhere else in the world, as the amount of digital content the average Indian consumes is also much higher!
Today thanks to the advent of 4G and of course faster broadband India is the second largest internet population with nearly half a billion people online. This gives an amazing opportunity for gamers across the country to spend more time online, both playing and watching gaming content, while for some has adapted it as their career. This has largely helped bring a fragmented market together, and is the main reason why specially the Mobile Esports has become one of the driving factors for the gaming and esports industry in India. It has given access and opportunity to vernacular content creators to connect with their community easily which has played a major role in how mobile gaming content has exploded, and that ripple effect is seen in esports. Not only are there more events with larger prize pools, but also broadcasts in Hindi, Tamil & Kannada for both Indian and global events!
Power in the pocket
Besides the internet, another key factor for the exponential growth of gaming & esports in India is the growing smartphone market. India boasts the second largest internet population in the world, of which, nearly ¾ of the traffic is derived from the mobile users. We have witnessed a great spike in launching powerful devices as low as INR 10K, that are capable of creating a seamless gaming experience for users. This is how games like PUBG Mobile, Free Fire and Call of Duty Mobile have flourished over the time, because they can be played effortlessly on low end mobile devices and offer hours of entertainment for no extra cost than that of your initial device investment and 4G connection.
Gradually, the easy accessibility has created great opportunities for regular gamers like Mortal, Carry Minati & Scout, making them household names and youth icons.
Because of the massive craze around these superstars of mobile gaming in India, global esports brands like Fnatic & TSM have not only invested in India, but have seen a substantial growth in terms of performances on the global esports stage with an Indian roster; an area where Indian Esports had always fallen short.
Affordable gaming laptops and notebooks
Merely a few years ago, college students who owned laptops were envied by their peers. Like high-speed internet, laptops were luxuries, only a few could afford. Since then, there has been a dual convergence that has made laptops affordable to the masses. Of these two convergences, first being a reasonable spike in income and basic standards of living has risen considerably over the past decade. Second, the price of gaming laptops and notebooks has fallen dramatically while their usefulness and performance has grown impacabelly.
Today, it’s common to find gaming laptops in virtually every nook and corner of the country. These digital devices combined with easier access to online services help introduce young people to the world of gaming and esports. As gaming laptops got more powerful, manufacturers also realized the importance of affordability and increased focus on entry level devices starting from 60K or so. Thanks to this move over the last 3 years the proportion of gaming laptops vs non gaming laptops has changed with an increasing number of young buyers stretching budgets a little more to jump in with entry level gaming notebooks.
With e-commerce, everything’s a click away
Another reason there is a surge in esports is that anything gamers need is a click away. With widespread access to the internet, players can order everything they need for their gaming needs.
With the ongoing battle for supremacy of the Indian retail domain between Flipkart & Amazon the only winner is the Indian consumer. Not only do buyers get more options and the best deals but these two platforms are always expanding their serviceable areas with small towns and remote areas constantly being added to their lists. This helps bridge the gap of access that once kept users in small towns and remote areas from enjoying the same experiences, gaming included as someone in a metro.
Today, All eyes are on India. Traditionally gaming hasn’t fared too well, but the story over the past 5 years has changed and India is emerging as one of the largest potential markets for gaming and esports with Mobile Gaming in the driver’s seat and PC to follow. Over the next decade as India embraces an ever increasing digital lifestyle both gaming and esports will grow to be a part of everyday life.
This article has been written by Ishaan Arya, Co-founder & Head of Business Development, The Esports Club.