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Esports in India – A growing industry

A decade ago, India’s online gaming sector is lame, with only 25 game developers. Today, there are over 250 game developers in the country.

Esports in India – A growing industry

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 28 May 2021 1:06 PM GMT

Esports pertain to a sports competition through video games organized into the multiplayer setting. It has successfully taken over the Indian market because of the promotion and campaign on various online streaming platforms like YouTube. The esports industry is not new, but not many people are aware that it has been around for a decade already. It just so happen that it became popular in India just recently as more developers and investors showing interest in the Indian market. The most common esports genre in the Indian market today are the following:

  • MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena)
  • RTS (Real-Time Strategy)
  • FPS (First Person Shooter)
  • Card games
  • Battle Royale
  • Fighting

Esports in India

India ranked 16 on the Forbes list, making it a multi-billion dollar industry. A decade ago, India's online gaming sector is lame, with only 25 game developers. Today, there are over 250 game developers in the country. Some of the big names in the industry had already invested in India's gaming sector, such as Tencent, Nazara, Paytm, and Alibaba. The revenue generated in sports mostly came from companies like Oppo and Asus.

India has hosted some of the most significant tournaments in esports, such as PUBG Mobile Series 2019 and the Electronic Sports League, participated by Dota 2 players from different parts of the world.

  • Counter-Strike – It was first released in early 2012, and since then, it becomes the most popular and widely played esports in the country. Back then, India was not a hub for esports. Today, India is recognized internationally for esports, and counterstrike has a lot to do with it.
  • Dota 2 – It is the first esport that dominated the Indian market; a multiplayer online battle game played by two teams with each team consisting of five players.

Esports sector during pandemic:

Online gaming is one of the reasons why India's economy is still surviving despite the global pandemic. The number of online gamers using their smartphone has grown by 60% if you compare the data during pre-covid and lockdown. The high youth population and the affordability and accessibility of smartphones are the primary reasons why India's online gaming sector is thriving. It has also paved the way for an online casino portal for Indian players. Another factor that paved the way to the growth of the online gaming market is the penetration of high-speed 4G internet.

Stakeholders' role in India's esports growth

E-commerce platforms have a lot to do with the growth of esports in India. They make sure that the gaming enthusiasts will have access to the hardware and accessory they need for the game. Some of the notable e-commerce includes Asus and Flipkart. Online gamers prefer to use gaming devices and tools with top-notch performance. Companies that produce such gaming paraphernalia ensure the demands are met while keeping in mind affordability and accessibility. Companies like Amazon and Flipkart ensure that gaming products are available and affordable.

Connectivity is a major contributor to the gaming industry's growth. Telecommunication providers have been working 24/7 to provide the best data plans, keeping in mind high-speed data access and affordability. Data availability is made possible through Reliance Jo's effort to set up thousands of mobile towers across the country, ensuring high-speed connection.

Career option in Esports

Regarding career options in esports in India, there is nothing much for professional gamers as the country's ecosystem and infrastructure are not ready to support such type of livelihood. Should you opt to be a professional gamer in India, you can make a huge amount of money, but only when the tournament is available. If you are going to treat it as a stable job, you are putting yourself in a risky position. However, other jobs in the esports sector can be made available such as being a game commentary, influencer, or coder in building artificial intelligence for games.

There is also a career in data handling. You can make money ranging between Rs. 50,000 and Rs 2 lakh a month. Esports is a gender-neutral sector as it won't require physical strength. In fact, a few women became successful in esports, and Sasha Hostyn is one of them. She won Intel Extreme Masters 2018 tournament and received a total winning prize of Rs 34.45 lakh.

The growth in Esports prize

As more Indians are into esports, the prize pool increases too. PUBG Mobile in India has been on the dramatic rise giving gamers the career option. According to July 2020 data, India is one of the leading countries globally for PUBG mobile downloads. When it comes to revenue and players' income, it is without a doubt that esports in India will continue to grow for the coming months and years. The largest tournament prize money in PUBG Mobile India Series 2020 is Rs. 50 Lakh.

Smartphones contribute to the growth of esports in India.

The growth of esports in India is driven by strong connectivity and the accessibility and affordability of high-performance smartphones. India's smartphone users have grown dramatically over the years. The growing demand for digital services, online entertainment, and communication has led to the development of various apps like Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp. All these have paved the way for esports in India.

The emergence of online sports cafe

How about online sports café or esports café? Such ideas would attract many players as they will allow them to play games without buying the tools and device. Another great thing about having an esports café is the possibility of building a competitive mentality through amateur tournaments. Currently, India has around 350 esports cafes equipped with the best gaming hardware. Some prominent esports cafés in India are Circle Gaming, League of Extraordinary Gamers, and Nemesis Gaming.

The growth in startup investments

Competitive esports gaming has been on the rise in India and other parts of the world. In today's time and age, when the world is in a global crisis brought about by the pandemic, it is surprising that online gaming is one of the pillars that hold the economy up. The pandemic doesn't seem to end soon, so more and more investors put their money on digital enterprises leading to a rise in esports startup investments.

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