Future of Esports in India – 2021 and Beyond

Introduction to Esports in India

Not a lot of industries have had the privilege to observe things run smooth for them on the financial front in the last 14 months. Especially, the sports industry, where losses have been immaculately huge. But there has still been a part, that has seen light in these times. The esports industry has rather done spectacularly well in the pandemic on all verticals.

But on this thread, we start with how it’s going for the esports market in the Indian context. We will get to the progress the industry has made in the last one year and the future of esports in India. But first, we take a small look at how it has done over the last few years both globally and in India.

  • The current net worth of the industry stands at INR 43.8 billion, according to the IFSG-KPMG survey, which is expected to hit INR 118.8 billion by FY23.
  • In the soon-to-be USD 1.5 billion esports market, India currently ranks 17th globally. The Indian esports market is estimated to be worth $818 million, and is expanding rapidly despite the lack of structure.
  • Globally, the number of video players has risen from 20 million in 2010 to 250 million in 2018, while the number of game development firms has expanded from 25 in 2010 to 250 in 2018.
  • Nazara Technologies became India’s first gaming company to file for an IPO in early 2021.

How it’s going in 2021 in India

The country has always been viewed as a huge potential market for almost all kinds of industries. The consumerism keeps going up despite what the nation’s economic graphs show. And fortunately for esports, the target market revolves around the Gen-Z. Gen-Z are the younger class, the technologically advanced group and the citizens of the future. They hold the power to make it a culture and take it ahead.

The consumer mindset has shifted from casual games to competitive video gaming, as well as multiplayer gaming. The expanded preference and widespread popularity of games like PUBG Mobile, FreeFire, and Valorant have found space in everyone’s smartphones and gaming consoles since the last year.

The industry has observed a good upwards tally of investments in India. According to the Investment Intelligence survey, venture capital funds have invested $438 million in Indian gaming start-ups since April 2020. In Financial Year 2020, the total size of esports start-ups in India was $68 million. The industry is projected to expand at a CAGR of 36% over the next three years.

The growth of the young population, increasing usage of smartphones, convenient availability and connectivity of technology and the internet, increasing economic spending, and an adequate delivery network are all factors that have contributed and will keep contributing to this rapid growth. Big dog publishers such as Garena, Riot, and Krafton, among others, are aggressively investing in esports in India.

The Future of Esports in India

Future of Esports and Gaming in India

According to industry estimates, India has over 300 million gamers. In light of the current situation, the industry is evolving and increasing. The following are some of the main factors that will drive the sector’s growth in the coming years:

  • Live Streaming and Increased Viewership: Gaming and the esports market will embrace live streaming, resulting in an increase in attendance. Real time streaming of gaming content, combined with regional streaming, will help gain momentum and create a solid, large, and diverse fan base. The gaming industry, which is dominated by the younger generation, provides consumers with fun and frolic opportunities while also extending their spare time. As a result, their preference and viewership will increase. With different demographical areas, India has the best youth and related communities. As a result of its content and tech-savvy characteristics, it is one of the booming markets for esports and video gaming.
  • Increase in Prize pool and Career Prospects: Tournament awards and cash prizes are rising and will continue to rise. Inter-regional and inter-city esports competitions, as well as brand sponsorships, are on the rise. The prize pool is attracting young people to try esports and online gaming as a full-time profession. The possibilities for a profession are vast. Aspiring gamers would be more likely to be created and developed as a result of this.
  • Esports in Education: The pandemic accelerated digital penetration and business expansion. It also fuelled the growth of India’s esports market. Esports is projected to be included in the curriculum and taught to students as a full-fledged course. The education sector would soon offer esports degrees and credential programs. Recruiting the best trainers, athletes, and gamers will increase jobs and the seekers. This will contribute in establishing a large network of gamers, esports clubs, and societies.
  • Financial growth and Non-Endemic Brand Collaborations: Sponsorship and ads from non-endemic brands can now be used in the market. Despite the fact that they are not specifically related to esports, they would be drawn to such alliances since these partnerships will aid their entry into the esports group.
    • They will also assist them in gaining momentum and exposure. They will be able to diversify their brand mix and improve their brand value as a result of this.
    • The marketers are looking to gain exposure, viewer interaction in a live environment, contact with millennials, and awareness in the esports market by running paid advertisements on well- known esports channels, advertising goods and services through in-game plug-in promotions, brand integrations, and sponsorship.
    • As a newcomer, the industry will have more potential for innovation, as well as more freedom for brands. They’ll be able to share their stories in a narrative way, but with a twist thanks to the esports and gaming industries.
    • The esports business has since attracted the interest of a number of angel investors and venture capitalists. It will continue to gain funding from investors and advertisers, and esports monetization will soon be at its peak.
  • Increased Mobile Usage: According to a BARC & Nielsen survey, the number of mobile gaming users each week rose from 60% in pre-covid periods to 68% during the lockdown phase. Additionally, after the lockout, users spent 218 minutes a week on mobile games, up from 151 minutes prior to the lockdown.
    • This number is predicted to rise as smartphones become more widely used across the globe. The high-speed broadband has also become more widely available. Esports and online gaming can grow in tandem with the growth in smartphone use.
    • It will play a significant role in the industry’s growth in India. Starting from the ground up, the Indian gaming industry, especially esports, has grown into a multibillion-dollar ecosystem. Though it has its share of setbacks, the sector is brimming with energy, innovation, and opportunities.
    • The rise of esports in India is fuelled by increased capitalist funding, brand partnerships, and increased cell phone use.

The time is right for the stakeholders to step up and expect more from this vertical of sports. Technology is one of the few things that adds value to all kinds of businesses and the bar will only raise higher with time as we move on to a more technologically run world.

The growth of the esports market will create more career opportunities for passionate individuals. The year 2021 is set to be a year of growth and engagement for the esports industry, and the future looks seemingly bright.

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