The Ins and Outs of The Indian eSports Industry

The Ins and Outs of The Indian eSports Industry

Amit Mangal | 15 / 10 / 2019

eSports or electronic sports is a term that defines a special type of sport competition that hosts multiplayer video games with the participation of professional players worldwide. eSports in India also plays a huge role in the global status of this peculiar industry and the next few lines will shed some light on the way Indian video game fans influence the multibillion-dollar industry.

Brief History Of eSports In The World

Almost five decades ago, Stanford University students were the pioneers who decided to compete one against the other at a popular video game called Spacewar. In 1991, a fighting game called Street Fighter II brought the concept of direct competitions between two players to the attention of the public. Up until that point, video games only used high scores within a game to decide the winner. The previously mentioned game allowed players to compete in a face-to-face format and this way decide who the best player was. This is an important turning point in the history of esports as we all know them today, as it paved the way for competitive gaming formats such as multiplayer and deathmatches. Another pioneer event worth mentioning here is the worldwide Evolution Championship Series that took place in 1996, one of the first esports tourney that later on led to other similar competitions organised by Nintendo or Blockbuster Video, to name a few.

However, it wasn't until the late 2000s that video game competitions made the switch from amateur events to professional competitions held with the help of live streaming solutions, involving a huge audience and whopping prizes.

In fact, it was the increased interest shown by the public towards these events that convinced game developers to start designing and funding these tourneys. This means more competitors from different international leagues were able to come together and compete against each other in the same game genres. It wasn't long before esports in India started to gain their own popularity.

If you are already familiar with titles like Fortnight, Overwatch, DOTA, League of Legends or Call of Duty, you probably count among the passionate esports fans in India. In fact, chances are you are one of the many supporters of e-sports in the country, bringing your own contribution to the global esports industry worth $1.1 billion in net worth in 2019. For 2023, industry specialists project figures that could easily reach $2.17 billion. The fast pace at which this industry has gained its worldwide popularity and its amazing growth over the years could not have been possible without the contribution of esports fans in India. Let's find out more about the esports industry in India and what the future holds for it.

eSports In India: Past And Future

While Europe and the US were already a big component of the global esports industry, 2019 brought some pleasant surprises to the table. Namely, other parts of the world started making their presence felt in the field. We are talking about South Asia, South East Asia or South America. The migration became even more visible when 16-yo Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf representing the Sentinels esports organisation won the Fortnite World Champion in 2019. He managed to beat out 40 million competitors across the planet and finally outscored the final one hundred contestants in the Finals. He also received the PC Rookie Player of the Year award, together with the PC Player Of The Year Esports Awards at the end of the same year. Without a doubt, 2019 was an excellent year of esports and it allowed the industry to climb new, head-spinning heights, created brand new heroes and made millions of fans gasping for air during the most entertaining events online on the planet. India definitely counts among those countries that recorded an incredible growth in terms of esports. However, things weren't even remotely similar to what they are now just a couple of years ago. While the massively large country may have been expected to be a huge global participant in the esports world, this didn't happen. What did occur, however, was a noticeable increase in the interest shown by small and local communities in the country in esports events, as well as more and more events held offline. At the end of December 2017, the DreamHack Mumbai event turned into the pioneer in terms of international tourneys held in the country. One year later, India hosted three separate global esports events, including the DreamHack in Delhi and COBX Masters, with huge prize pool easily going over $1.5 million in 2019, compared to $500,000 in 2018.

PUGB Mobile is one of the most popular and successful free multiplayer action games you can play on your mobile device. The game is a hundred-player classic battle game that features the zombie, payload mode as well as thrilling 4 versus 4 deathmatches. You need to compete against others for survival and be the last one standing so you can be crowned a winner. The game received the Mobile Game of the Year award in 2018 as well as the title for the most competitive mobile game at the Google Play 2018 Awards. The HD graphics are marvellous, the 3D sounds are out of this world and the fully customisable controls, various training options and the possibility to use the voice chat are turning this game into an incredible experience every time. The ballistics are incredibly realistic and the way the weapons behave on a smartphone together with the monthly upgrades featuring new gaming modes are why PUBG MOBILE is the most downloaded mobile e-sports game on the planet. Players in India were not left behind. As a matter of fact, esports players in the country are o top of the charts when it comes to players' database and the game's audience. In other words, you cannot talk about esports and PUGG Mobile without mentioning India. Tencent has already announced some big plans for PUGB in the upcoming future, as well as its general eSport ideas for 2020, and we are eager to see what will unfold in future years in the country.

With a population of more than 1.3 billion people, India is one of the most successful esports markets and its growth potential is mesmerising. The country has recently hosted the launch of a few different esports startups, including Cobx Gaming, JetSynthesys or Nodwin Gaming. The country is extremely appealing to investors in the industry. In 2019, India was ranked 17th in a global top of the esports industry. The country has also recorded remarkable numbers in terms of professional gaming. This is due to a series of factors, including:

  • The constantly improved gaming infrastructure

  • The growing number of gaming venues in the country, including land casinos

  • The advent of the internet and its increased availability on mobile devices

  • The greater purchasing power of consumers

  • Gamers who choose to make a career out of their passion for games

Professional gamers like Tirth Mehta from Gujarat managed to make history by winning the first eSports medal in India during the Asian Games in 2018. Tirth won the bronze medal in a collectable video game with card-game influences. This makes the current influence and future status of esports even more obvious in India. Things are looking bright, especially if we are to consider the official net worth estimates of close to $820 million in terms of the Indian eSports industry. The same industry is expected to reach INR 118.8 billion in 2023. This sounds realistic, given the way eSports giants in different parts of the world choose India as an excellent country where they can invest in the market and reap excellent results.

The country counts more than 2 million active and passionate players, along with another 2 million occasional viewers. It is easy to understand why the country has turned into a leading destination for gaming events including Electronic Sports League Gaming or the Indian Gaming League. Players in India are not only interested in video games, but also in card game tournaments, which imitate collectable card games. 

Acer is the absolute PC gaming leader in the country and it is also responsible for hosting Asia’s greatest eSports tourney called the Acer Predator Gaming League. HyperX is also closely tied to the ESL India Premiership League. This is the most successful esports tournaments in India.

The Indian esports market is constantly growing and other international esports giants such as Tencent, APUS or Yoozoo Games are determined to set up their shops here and put millions of dollars in the domestic esports industry in India. There are more than 120 million gamers who love to play online right now and billions of dollars ready to be collected in terms of revenues, so who could say no to the chance to grab a piece of the pie?

There are also plenty of national esports developers in the country including names like Nazara and NODWIN Gaming and together with global giants like Yahoo and Google, India has created the ideal gaming infrastructure worth keeping an eye on.

What The Future Holds For The eSports Industry In India

The world-famous Call of Duty: Mobile game is expected to have a huge influence on the global esports industry in 2020. India records the second-biggest number of downloads after the U.S., which will make the country hard to ignore. PUBG MOBILE will keep ruling the esports industry in the country with exclusive international PUBG MOBILE LANs event expected to take place in 2020. As of now, the gaming industry in India is expected to turn into the greatest market for digital gaming.

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