From League of Legends, DOTA to PUBG and India's own FAU-G, Indian E-sports scenario is brimming with professional online gamers. The Indian market is increasing rapidly and is set to grow further in the coming years.
E-sports is competitive online gaming in which typically multiplayer games form a significant chunk of the segment. Millions of dollars are spent on the fees and endorsements of E-sports events worldwide. Estimates of a Google-KPMG report show that the Indian gaming market will grow to $1 billion by 2021.
Despite being seemingly new, there are typical E-sports tournaments which are broadcasted online and on TV. And just like our traditional sports like cricket and football, these events also have commentators’ witty remarks and a live raging audience (mostly in their homes). Remarkably, more than 400 million e-sports fans from 152 countries tune in to watch such competitions online.
COVID-19 Led to a Surge in the Gaming Industry
To curb the spread of COVID-19, governments worldwide imposed lockdowns in 2020. This move boosted user engagement with video games and E-sports. The practice of social distancing reduced business activity and normalcy. During this time, gaming offered an engaging distraction for people at home, and it played a massive growth in sales for the gaming industry.
COVID-19 accelerated the growth of the gaming industry in India as well. PayTM, India’s online payments giant, offered over 100 games, including Ludo, Teen Patti, and fantasy cricket for people during the 2020 lockdown. The user base increased by nearly 200% during the period, and PayTM registered over 90 million app downloads.
Among Us is another online game that gained popularity during the lockdown. A surge in the number of downloads and users for the game led to more game updates and features update. Gamers streamed the game on Twitch and YouTube and garnered a massive audience for people to watch during the lockdown.
Asian gaming giants like Nintendo and Tencent saw sales increase and games released during the pandemic performed exceptionally. Most games are available for free and are later monetized with in-game sales. Platforms like Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Gaming have experienced a surge in user growth and the audience.
India's Favourite Game- PUBG
A significant increase in terms of money for E-sports in India came from PUBG Mobile. The video game peaked in India and was one of the most downloaded before the government banned the gaming application after Indo-Sino border skirmishes in 2020. Some colleges conducted a PUBG game contest to garner youth to participate. It had changed the E-sports ecosystem in India.
The gamers live-stream the games on their YouTube channels, which is one way the gamers earn money. There are many fans of the game who watch the stream to learn the tricks of the game. The ban on PUBG led to a massive loss in the gaming industry, and players lost out on their income.
Debate On Which is Better- Mobile or PC Gaming?
Mobile gaming is easily accessible and a popular platform for Indian gamers. The PC gaming culture is still alive, but mobile gamers are increasing. DOTA 2, a viral game, is seeing a downfall because mobile gamers are on the rise. Another famous match that blew up the internet was Fortnite – the game’s dances went viral on social media. It was the most played game in 2018-2019.
E-sports Market in India
India’s online gaming industry witnessed a growth in 2018 of 22 per cent and is expected to grow more by 2023 by generating Rs. 11,900 Crore in revenue, according to a research report by KPMG and the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming. When it comes to the game genre, nearly 71% of the users play fantasy cricket because of the popularity of the sport in India followed by football. Almost 81% of the users believe that particular skill and knowledge is required in the fantasy sports teams.
E-sports generates its revenue from around 95% of sponsorship deals. The rest of the payment is generated from merchandising sales and equipment by the viewers. Prize money is pooled in millions of dollars. According to Mercer Capital, subscribers receive access to ad-free streams for subscribing to streaming sites, and the cost acts revenue.
The companies or organizations pay salaries to gamers to take part in foreign tournaments. Pro-gaming is a viable career path with training and consistency. There is a need for regulation by the government to have an E-sports quota for pro-gamer students. In a few countries like the UK, Korea, and the Philippines, they have compulsory gamers’ requirements.
The Future of the Gaming Industry in India
India is a vast playing field for sports, and a larger audience would create more awareness of the same, and it would be great to capture five per cent of the market with massive gaming opportunities.
There are some downsides to gaming like the misogyny that exists in the field. A female gamer is a victim of sexually explicit messages and often felt not welcome. Toxicity is in traditional as well as digital sports. Gaming is wild when the players are accustomed to racial slur and swearing. China is the most saturated gaming market, and there are more female gamers in comparison to males.
There are gaming cafes that conduct tournaments, and television channels like MTV air shows based on E-sports partnered with gaming organizations and a prize pool. E-sports culture in India is expected to grow drastically, and the future of this gaming segment seems bright for India.