From adolescents engaging in video game sessions within a confined space to its current status as a billion-dollar industry, the realm of eSports has experienced a profound metamorphosis. This evolution perfectly exemplifies the synergy between technology and culture, giving rise to an innovative realm of entertainment. Although not consistently recognized as a conventional sport, eSports has exhibited a remarkable ascent, boasting a player base of approximately six hundred thousand in India alone. The prospects it holds are vast, prompting this blog to delve into the landscape of eSports in India and its prospects in the forthcoming times.
The pandemic acted as a pivotal catalyst for the surge of eSports in India. With more time spent at home, a considerable number of individuals embraced gaming, some for leisure and others with a professional outlook. According to Statista’s data, the fiscal year 2021 witnessed 17 million eSports spectators, a figure twice that of fiscal year 2019. This statistic is projected to climb even higher in the coming times. The underlying factors driving this remarkable growth encompass enhanced digitalization, improved connectivity, and the influence of international gaming trends. Notably, the phenomenon of eSports isn’t confined solely to urban centers or a male demographic. There has been a noteworthy upswing in gamers from Tier 2 and Tier 3 locations, with a significant proportion of these gamers being women.
The surge in the gamer population has demonstrated significant advantages, particularly when examining the financial and economic dimensions. According to analyses, the eSports market is projected to expand to Rs. 1100 crores by 2025, accompanied by an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 46%. However, this growth is just the beginning. Noteworthy research conducted by Ernst & Young (EY), a prominent audit and consulting firm, highlights the substantial economic influence of eSports. This impact is anticipated to contribute to the creation of 11,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2025, fostering employment, and generating an overall economic effect surpassing 100 billion rupees.
Acknowledging the immense potential of eSports, the government has designated it an official sport and incorporated it into the roster of games played in India. This development has been met with enthusiasm by the ESports community, who have devoted considerable effort to propelling their discipline into the spotlight. Lokesh Suji, the director of the Esports Federation of India, expressed that this declaration has provided them with the impetus to establish essential infrastructure, training centers, and the enlistment of adept coaches. According to Suji, eSports is on track to attain the same level of popularity as traditional sports like Cricket or Football. Notable figures and experts in the field also anticipate the imminent launch of an “ESports Development Fund” by the government to foster the growth of the sport.
The Present Scenario:
Presently, numerous prospects exist for players to showcase their abilities due to a notable increase in both national and international tournaments. An illustrative instance of this phenomenon is the Indian ESports League, which has achieved remarkable success. This league managed to draw participants from all corners of the country and boasted an impressive prize pool of one crore rupees. Another case in point is the ‘Skyesports Masters,’ a league organized on a franchise basis. Within a span of just five years, it has managed to accumulate a viewership of over 300 million and a follower count exceeding 2 million. These types of tournaments have played a pivotal role in establishing a robust ESports ecosystem in India, thereby setting the groundwork for potential global recognition.
India is also gearing up to participate in prominent events such as AIMG 2025, The Olympic ESports Week, and the Asian Games 2023. The opportunity to compete on an international stage is expected to significantly enhance the sport’s popularity and act as a catalyst for its future expansion.
Future of Esports:
The increase in the number of tournaments and the backing from governmental support has resulted in multiple sponsorships and opportunities for brand endorsements. This news is highly positive, as sponsorships and marketing efforts contribute to the development of infrastructure, investments, and professionalism, collectively fostering a robust ecosystem. A notable example of a significant collaboration is the partnership between the global powerhouse PUMA and the Indian entity ‘Revenant ESports’. Moving forward, we can anticipate numerous similar collaborations. Experts are of the opinion that if the government officially recognizes the sport, it will attract both domestic and international investments into the Esports scene in India. Brands will strive to establish enduring partnerships with Indian organizations due to the substantial potential for Esports growth in the region.
The future of eSports in India holds great promise, with all the essential elements in place for the country to emerge as a significant player on the global eSports stage. Fueled by a relatively youthful population deeply interested in gaming and the swift pace of digitalization, this momentum appears unstoppable. The current conditions for eSports’ expansion are highly favorable, benefiting from government support, a plethora of upcoming tournaments, strong sponsorship and investor backing, along with abundant resources to facilitate excellence. Adding to this momentum is the recent achievement of the Indian DOTA 2 team, which secured a bronze medal at the Commonwealth eSports Championship. There has never been a more opportune moment to be an eSports athlete in India.
To conclude, the ascent of eSports in India is evident and promises further accomplishments. The substantial potential it holds has already yielded considerable success for the nation. With increased backing, financial input, and enthusiastic following, eSports is poised to transition into a recognized mainstream activity, potentially positioning India as a pivotal market in the times ahead.