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The Indian eSports pie, and why everyone wants a piece of it

The Indian eSports pie, and why everyone wants a piece of it

Armaan Vinod

Published: 18 Feb 2020 6:14 AM GMT

eSports, for those in the fog, is the world of competitive and organised video gaming. It brings competitors from across the globe together from various leagues and genres of gaming, where they compete against each other in the same games that are popular amongst home gamers such as Fortnight, Call of Duty, Counter Strike, DOTA and Overwatch to name a few.

The first eSports event took place almost 48 years ago in 1972, where students at Stanford University competed on the video game Spacewar. Fast forward to almost five decades later, the eSports industry hit an all-time high of $1.1 billion net worth in 2019 and is estimated to reach $2.17 billion by 2023. Needless to say, eSports has gained a global reputation and is one of the fastest-growing industry in today’s market.

A still from Call of Duty (Image: Actualités jeux vidéo)
A still from Call of Duty (Image: Actualités jeux vidéo)

Esports In India

India, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and home to over 1.3 billion people, has emerged as one of the most lucrative markets in recent times for esports from a growth perspective. In recent years, the country has witnessed several upcoming eSport startup’s such as JetSynthesys, FanMojo, Nodwin Gaming and Cobx Gaming that have helped in establishing eSports as an investor-friendly industry.

As of 2019, India stands at no. 17 globally in the soon to be a billion-dollar industry. With the growth in professional gaming in India, improved infrastructure like increase in the number of avenues for gamers to participate, increased internet penetration and the rising purchasing power of the consumer, gamers can now look at gaming as a professional career choice rather than just a hobby or a leisure activity.

24-year old Tirth Mehta from Gujarat created history by winning the country’s first-ever eSports medal at Asian Games 2018 (Image: India Today)
24-year old Tirth Mehta from Gujarat created history by winning the country’s first-ever eSports medal at Asian Games 2018 (Image: India Today)

Some inspiration can also be drawn from 24-year old Tirth Mehta from Gujarat, who created history by winning the country’s first-ever eSports medal at Asian Games 2018, coming third and winning bronze in the collectable card-based video game tournament called Hearthstone. It is safe to say that eSports has a promising future in India and has positive things to offer to its culture and economy.

A billion-dollar pie

With an estimated net worth of $818 million, the Indian eSports industry is set to grow into a staggering $1.1 billion industry and with revenues of INR 43.8 billion in FY18 which is believed to increase all the way up to INR 118.8 billion in 2023, foreign eSports giants are keeping a firm eye on India and have already started investing heavily in the market. Of course, who wouldn’t want to pocket that kind of cash?

With over two million fans and two million occasional viewers, the Indian fan base for eSports, though not the largest in terms of global numbers by any means, is slowly and steadily picking up the pace. With those number, both financially and in terms of viewership, India has become a leading destination for gaming planners to organise big gaming events such as Indian Gaming League, ESL Gaming etc.

Acer, as the market leader in PC gaming in India, every year organises Asia’s biggest eSports tournament known as the “Acer Predator Gaming League”. Alongside Acer, HyperX has been associated with ESL India Premiership League, which is the biggest tournament for eSports in the country.

With an ever-expanding market, a number of global eSports giants like APUS, Yoozoo Games, Tencent games and a dozen more companies are setting up shop in India and investing millions of dollars into the industry. With over 120 million online gamers at present and billions of dollars up for grabs in revenue, everyone wants a piece of the pie.

What the future holds

The kind of resources and exposure available today combined with the affordable cost of owning digital gaming devices, the future of gaming looks bright. The investment made by both eSports giants like Tencent and APUS mixed with domestic startup’s such as Nazara, JetSynthesys and NODWIN Gaming, alongside with Internet giants such as Google and Yahoo, has not only led to better opportunities and infrastructure but has also helped gamers in realising their lifelong dream.

On a global scale, India has just started out and has already shown the potential of becoming a top country in eSports. As it stands now, the Indian gaming industry is shaping up to become one of if not the biggest market for digital gaming. With the introduction of eSports in India, gaming is not just an avenue for entertainment anymore. With the emergence of competitive gaming, eSports is evolving as a viable career option for virtual athletes and gamers. The Indian eSports industry today is without a doubt one of the fast-growing industry in the world and its fairly evident the future of eSports in India is quite promising.

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