Numerous players are competing in local, regional and international tournaments.
Esports in India is gaining momentum as an organized, competitive video gaming sector. With a large youth population and quick adoption of mainstream gaming, Esports in India has become the latest frontier for gamers and players alike to prove their mettle in organized tournaments on global platforms. The eSports industry in India is experiencing rapid growth, with numerous players competing in local, regional and international tournaments.
The revenue of the eSports industry in India for the financial year 2021 was around 2.5 billion Indian rupees. Vide 23rd December notification, our President Droupadi Murmu amended the regulations governing Esports in accordance with the power “conferred by clause (3) of article 77 of the Constitution” and asked the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and Sports Ministry to include Esports as part of multi-sports events.
The Esports scene in India started with smaller LAN tournaments that were organized by local groups of passionate gamers looking to show off their gaming skills.
These grassroots competitions paved the way for the emergence of popularized games like Counterstrike (CS:GO) and Dota 2 which now form the backbone of the Indian eSports community.
With these major tournament organizers hosting regular events throughout the year, the Esports industry has gained immense traction over the last few years among gamers from all age groups who strive to transform themselves into professional gamers. As evident from the number of eSports players in India was recorded at around 150 thousand in the financial year 2021 which was nearly twice as many players as noted in 2020. With esports getting official recognition vide 23rd December notification this growing trend is expected to see exponential rise.
In terms of viewership too, Esports has exploded with thousands of dedicated fans cheering for their favorite teams during live streamed tournaments across several platforms such as ESPN2, TwitchTV, YouTube Gaming among others. This massive surge in popularity of Esports has also given rise to exciting opportunities for both professional players and entrepreneurs. For players and enthusiasts alike, there are ample avenues available to test their skills against other promising talents from all around the world via different online Electronic Sports Leagues (ESLs).
Professional Esports companies such as NODWIN Gaming have been engaged by top corporations across industries to organize large-scale offline events like DreamHack and ESL Gamers World Championship which attract thousands of participants internationally.
Investment into market infrastructure like dedicated studios or even setting up teams itself have further fuelled the growth of this sector as investors have begun recognizing huge potential associated with eSports’ growth trajectory in India & Globally.
Big household names such as Reliance Jio came out promising whopping cash prizes & sponsorships a few months ago; signaling a monumental shift towards commercialization & mainstreaming within this space.
In the financial year 2021, the investment in India’s eSports industry amounted to around 9.3 billion Indian rupees. It was further predicted that the investment would increase to 11 billion rupees by fiscal year 2025. Projections for this year also estimated that eSports events would be viewed across 20 different platforms by nearly 85 million viewers. (Source: Statista)
The United States of America officially recognised esports as an official sport in the year 2013 and was also one of the first to accept gamers as athletes in the same year. Some other countries to recognise esports as regular sport are South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, France, Spain, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Germany, Austria, Finland, Ukraine, Thailand, Nepal, and Monaco Italy, Brazil, Nepal, Turkmenistan, Macedonia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Serbia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Georgia etc. This list continues to grow as countries across the globe are beginning to recognise esports in some form or another.
Esports have also opened pathways for exciting career opportunities inside the gaming industry at large. In addition to becoming pro gamers itself, qualified individuals can also actively contribute towards developing breakthroughs within game development/UX design technologies from existing startups/gaming studios/developers or even apply for jobs within these companies related to marketing/communications/business operations etc. Ultimately being one that not only poses an obvious business potential by virtue size but one that’s tightly aligned with evolving technological trends – we might soon witness broad based innovative use cases that are made possible due to increasing demand & rising investments pouring into this sector putting it on par with any traditional sporting activities at scale. Esports being considered as a medal sport in the Olympics and Asian games, the recent move by India to include Esports as part of multi-sports is the most effective way to allow this industry to flourish where players can enjoy eSports responsibly and safely while deterring unscrupulous operators.
To sum it up, what had started out as just another hobby activity has now mushroomed into a booming industry worth billions–given its humongous popularity and rapidly expanding user base–wherein every day talented individuals compete eagerly exploring every unturned stone along their way, indicating a bright future lies ahead.
Khushbu Jain is a practicing advocate in the Supreme Court and founding partner of the law firm, Ark Legal. She can be contacted on Twitter: @advocatekhushbu.