The Rise of E-Sports in India

February 26, 2021

India is emerging in E-sports gaming. It is a growing field that has fascinated millennials’ interest like never before. The Indian digital gaming industry is snowballing with giants like Mobile Premier League and Junglee Games creating their footprints globally.

In the past couple of years, India has witnessed multiple E-sports startups like FanMojo, JetSynthesys, Cobx, Nodwin, and Playtonia Gaming, joining the online gaming space and establishing sports gaming as an investor-friendly industry. According to the IFSG-KPMG report, the E-sports industry is worth INR 43.8 billion, and by 2023 it is said to reach INR 118.8 billion.

What is E-sports?

Many people confuse E-sports with fantasy gaming, but the two are not synonyms. Video gaming has a professional nature, facilitated by an electronic system. It is often based on organized multi-player video games, whereas fantasy gaming is an online projection game where you put together a virtual team of real sports players.

The Rise of E-sports

E-sports has been thriving under the Covid-19 pandemic and is here to dominate in the coming times. Since stadiums and arenas are under lockdown, people are left to enjoy games that are streamed online.

Due to digital innovation, sports have become more interactive and engaging. The mass penetration of faster internet like mobile 4G, triggered by Reliance Jio, further popularized this industry.

Watching real sports is a passive activity. You switch on your television and enjoy the game. Online gaming has recognized the country’s love for action by making a passive activity engaging. Gamers are no longer satisfied with just clicking a button. They want to do more. They want action and want to be a part of the experience.

India ranked 16th among the world in the E-sports industry with a revenue of Rs. 8,000 crores in 2020. The country saw an increase of over 180 percent in the prize pool in 2019 from 2018 in the three international E-sports events it hosted, namely ESL One Mumbai, COBX Masters, and Dreamhack Delhi. In 2019, the prize pools paid out to the players rose from $500,000 to $1.5 million.

Impact on Sports Viewership

Indians have a special love for sports like cricket. Cricket has been treated as a religion in India. But a major change has been noted in the genre expansion and consumption patterns, formulating a jump in the viewership and popularity of other games such as badminton, wrestling, and basketball.

Conventional sports have lost their appeal for the younger viewers due to the length of tournaments and multi-hour formats, making E-sports attractive for quicker results.

Challenges faced by the E-sports Industry in India

Since E-sports is all about online gaming, the internet connection speed is a starting point to ensure a good gaming experience. Fast internet makes a big difference if one is gunning for a Victory Royale in a game like “Fortnite.” Chances of winning take a significant hit with slow internet speed.

Like all other sports, E-sports also needs some academies to get players trained by professionals. Such academies are currently lacking in India.

The future is promising for Indian E-sports on a global scale. With the emergence of talented players and investments from big companies, India is emerging to be one of the most prominent players globally.

Written By
Anshula Pattanayak

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