What has driven the motion of e-sports to be prominent enough in leading the online gaming industry? The growth of internet services across India has laid down a pathway for the esports industry to prosper their reach to the conservative areas. In the modern era, almost every localized area situated in India has the essence of the internet connection. It has enabled measures to increase the connection capacity across the corners that need to tie up with the ever-growing dynamism, digital media in India.
The gaming community has felt exhilarated by the response it has been propelling in recent times. The widening gap at the top of the funnel for all consumer internet services and digital products serves to convert the middle and bottom layers into revenue-generating individuals and businesses.
What was the conscience behind the exposure to online gaming platforms? The transformation reportedly has been far from being straightforward, as the gaming industry had to pounce at the right opportunity for reaping the rewards. The behavioral changes in the online consumer content have played a crucial role in shifting the paradigm of Indian citizens. Sometimes all it takes is a bewildering event to change the thought process of the industries, and that’s what turns out to be the case in the pattern observed since the coronavirus pandemic.
E-SPORTS AND ITS RAPID GROWTH AS A CAREER OPTION
E-sports has in recent times surged the juncture in the online gaming platform. The way people specialize online on social media has acted as a catalyst for the attention economy sectors, including online gaming. Differing opinions staggering the world of mobile games has been circulating in social media, as it it has brought a new perspective along with it.
E-sports, which takes the form of organized, multiplayer competitions, particularly between professional players who are taking part in teams or individually- is broadcasted live on online streaming software. Evolution in the games is signifying as emphatic visual graphics have been added to the frame lately.
HOW DID COVID-19 REVOLUTIONIZED THE GROWTH OF VIRTUAL GAMING IN INDIA?
“Covid-19 helped the gaming industry a lot because the only form of leisure apart from OTT platforms was gaming. We saw a huge surge of people following us across YouTube, Instagram, Loco,” said Animesh Agrawal, an e-sports entrepreneur. “Since we are very optimistic about how 2021 would be for gaming, we are going heavy with investments that we are putting into our company,” he further added, referring to the significant jump that E-sports observed during the lockdown.
Inspired by the rapid growth rate of E-sports in India, Animesh Agrawal, from just being a professional player, conspired to be one of the leading entrepreneurs in the country as he inaugurated his gaming agency, his efforts have inspired millions of aspiring gamers to seek a potential career in E-sports.
In 2020, the E-sports viewership touched staggering heights as it doubled up to 17 million, while the pool prize money hiked by 25-30%. E-sports in India has contributed immensely to raise their share in the markets through online streaming platforms like Youtube and Twitch.
According to a survey by BARC & Nielsen, the exponential of smartphone users has augmented a higher level during the lockdown. The percentage, which was 60% before the Covid-19 pandemic, has spiked up by 8% since it emerged in India.
The rise has been quite appealing, thanks to the youth professionals and players, who have come forward doubling their efforts in the arena. The transformation in the industry was happening at a glacial pace before the lockdown. The tormented habits dwelled in by Covid-19 acted as an accelerant for the increase in the average time spent on a mobile phone per week.
ABOUT LIFE IN E-SPORTS, AND HOW HAS IT ATTRACTED MORE PEOPLE TOWARDS IT
On the contrary, professional players have emerged out of nowhere and burst onto the scene. E-sports has become increasingly popular in India since the launch of multiplayer games like PUBG and Fortnite. The games played in arenas and halls come up with a pool prize where competitors battle out against each other to win the tournaments.
The masses still don’t know about the origin of the e-sports industry as the legitimacy over the competitions remains in jeopardy. The proliferation of high-end smartphones at affordable prices has unleashed the rise of mobile games in India, including PUBG Mobile, Free Fire, Clash of Legends, Call of Duty Mobile. It also has given coverage to PC and console games such as DOTA2, CS: GO, Rocket League, Fortnite PUBG (different from a mobile), and others.
Over the past few years, E-sports had to surge its coverage across online platforms like Youtube and Twitch so that faith shown in the technology does not get hampered by the lack of broadcasting of the trending games. India gathers the interest of all the beholders who are willing to excel in their gaming pursuit to a professional level. With the ever-growing popularity, it is likely more than ever that the youth players contemplate E-sports as a valuable career option.
WHAT ARE THE FACTORS STEERING E-SPORTS IN INDIA?
Apart from the internet penetration and graphical rift, the Indian online gaming juncture has been in pole position to deliver high-stake revenues to E-sports in the long term. The gaming market has overcome all the barriers on its way to becoming one of the trending topics of the town since the proliferation of high-end smartphones in gaming-related avenues.
The gushing of E-sports in India comprehends of the following factors:
APPEAL OF ADVANCED SMARTPHONE PENETRATION
The attention towards digital information through apps like Facebook, Whatsapp, and Youtube has provided us with the golden opportunity to widen the reach of segments like E-sports in India. CARG has mentioned a remarkable rise of smartphones by 15-20% since 2015. What has intrigued most of the professional players? With so much hype disseminating around the smartphone penetration, the development of advanced frantic gaming modes in the next-generation phones has caught the eyes of the aspirants of professional gaming.
The technology beast brands like ASUS, OPPO, and Tencent have unleashed a game-changer like PUBG mobile, which has prospered in the gaming industry like no other mobile game could ever have. By 2020, the engagement on the PUBG mobile game was around 33 Million monthly active users. It has benefited from the behavioral changes and the easy accessibility of smartphones nowadays.
DAWN OF E-SPORTS CAFES IN INDIA
E-sports cafe isn’t like the usual modern-day avenues where people grind for battling it out against each other without owning the requisite hardware. But it is an arena where the competitive toughness and mentality incorporates into the players through amateur tournaments.
In India, the revolution to the E-sports cafe has been positive as it has helped stimulate the growth of the unknown players. It also allows the organizations to form a community by acquiring players with exceptional skills into the framework. India is home to an estimated 350 E-sport cafes spread across various cities with Inbuilt PCs and graphic cards. The giant Corporation Nvidia is planning an expansion to the E-sport cafes in India. It is looking to push its limits by adding its footprint in the Indian gaming community by announcing the inculcation of 100 more E-sport cafes.
AMEOLIRATION IN START-UPS INVESTMENTS FOR E-SPORTS GROWTH IN INDIA
The awareness of E-sports to localized companies has led to an attractive interest among the investors as they seek to grab this opportunity by the scruff. The demand for competitive gaming is rising in India, as per the reports, and the e-sports segment is attracting interest from investors.
Between 2014 and 2020, the total venture capital funding in India’s gaming Startups was around $448 million, as per the reports gathered. The top-funded Startups in India include influential companies like Dream 11, Smaaash Entertainment, and Nazara technologies. Dream 11 topping the charts by holding almost $100 million in total funding, followed by Smaaash Entertainment and Nazara Technologies with an investment of $82.6 and $79 million, respectively.
SCENARIO OF IPO LISTING OF NAZARA TECHNOLOGIES
The trend of hitting IPO for the gaming companies is on the rise as India’s first gaming tech setup Nazara Technologies is all set to rock the share markets with the backing of billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Nazara Technologies is the latest added to the bandwagon of share listing, as the company is in line to enlist his initial public offer of Rs 583 crore on March 17.
The IPO issue price fixes at Rs 1100-1101 per share with 52,94,392 equity shares offered for subscription. The sale by the existing shareholders of the company will close on March 19. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is not opting out of selling the stakes entirely. And he looks to continue as the head-in-charge of development-related services in the organization.
E-SPORTS PRIZE POOL REWARD IN INDIA
While many questioning the integrity and transparency over the incentives received in the e-sports tournaments, esports raised the bar by increasing the prize pool money in India. The amelioration in participants since 2016 has reflected the growth of revenue of e-sports in India. The trajectory of the tournaments’ prize has been upward ever since the power of Indian players has been on a surge in the gaming world.
CORONAVIRUS ACTS AS A CATALYST FOR THE FUTURE OF ESPORTS
With the lockdown, the gaming avenues experienced a higher engagement by players who delve this time to convert their passion into a potential career path. Esports, along with other niche categories, benefitted from the higher engagement of individuals to the gaming media during the strict phases of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gaming startups such as Nazara Technologies, Gaming Monk, Gamerji told the reporters that they witnessed growth since April 2020 and have never stopped since then. Ahemdabad originated Gamerji hosted around 6,000 virtual tournaments as it got the exposure of 150k new followers on their social media handles. The company surged almost 2.5x times than its original value, which is the most in Gamerji’s short history as a venture.
“There is higher player engagement in most platforms and this could potentially boost the esports economy, as most sponsors who would usually partner up with cricket or other major sporting events have all been postponed, this leaves esports as one of the few sporting events that sponsors can partner with to promote their product,” said Yash Pariani, director, Indian Gaming League, who is the founder of the Mumbai-based startup who has seen a 90% increase in customer engagement within esports since the lockdown.
The future of esports looks enticing as the revenue-aspect of the tournaments is increasing. More people will delve onto the scene with their tremendous skills to battle their way out against each other in the global and Indian-based tournaments.