India is not an exception to the global trend of esports, also known as competitive gaming, which has been slowly gaining popularity. The emergence of esports has caused a substantial shift in the Indian gaming business over the past several years. Esports in India is altering how people view the sector in a nation where gaming has always been seen as a pastime. Esports is currently one of the fastest-growing industries in India, with an increase in players, teams, and competitions.
In India, esports has experienced extraordinary growth. A key market for the gaming business, the nation boasts one of the largest teenage populations in the world. The widespread accessibility of high-speed internet and reasonably priced cell phones also contribute to the rise of esports. India has the potential to play a key role in the global esports sector thanks to its large audience and expanding gaming community.
In India, the esports market has already expanded significantly in recent years. Major international companies have forayed into the Indian market, investing in esports businesses and constructing gaming infrastructure. These companies include Tencent, Activision Blizzard, and Valve. In the Indian gaming market, companies like Nazara Technologies, Mobile Premier League (MPL), and Nodwin Gaming have also become major players.
Games like FIFA, Call of Duty, Dota 2, and PUBG Mobile are the most popular esports titles in India. Millions of gamers frequently play these games in India, where they have a huge fan base. A number of professional esports teams, including Team Vitality, Team Entity, and Team Godlike, have been established in India as a result of the growth of esports. These teams have been representing the nation at numerous international competitions for esports.
There are still a number of issues that need to be resolved, despite the Indian esports industry’s rise. These include a lack of adequate resources and infrastructure, a need for qualified professionals, and a lack of official government recognition of the sport as a legitimate one. The development of the Indian esports business has been hampered by these issues, and it is now challenging for Indian players to compete with those from other countries.
Esports in India have a bright future ahead of them, with the market set to expand rapidly. India has the potential to play a significant role in the global esports business with the correct infrastructure, money, and support from the government. The nation is an important market for the gaming industry to tap into since it has the talent, the audience, and the love for gaming.
In this article, we will discuss and try to predict the future of esports in India and also try to find that whether it is a Promising career option for the Youngsters of the country.
History of Esports in India:-
Before getting into the future let us first go through the history of esports in India. Esports have a long history in India, which began to see a rise in popularity for online gaming in the early 2000s. However, esports didn’t start to become popular in India until the middle of the 2010s.
The India Gaming Carnival (IGC), which was held in 2004 and was put on by a business called Indiagames, was one of the country’s first esports competitions. The event gathered a sizable number of players and spectators and featured games including Counter-Strike, Unreal Tournament, and Quake III Arena.
The India Cyber Gaming Championship, which was introduced in 2008, signaled the start of a more structured and expert approach to esports in India. FIFA, NFS, and Counter-Strike were among the games played in the competition, and cash prizes were given to the victors.
The first Indian qualifiers for the Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC) were held in Mumbai in 2010, when participants from all around the nation competed in Need for Speed, Counter-Strike, and FIFA. This tournament served as a forum for Indian players to demonstrate their abilities on a global scale, marking a crucial turning point in the development of esports in India.
The Dew Arena, ESL India Premiership, and Indian Gaming Show are just a few of the esports competitions and leagues that India has hosted in the years afterward. Players and spectators were given the chance to enjoy the thrill of competitive gaming thanks to these events, which contributed to the development of a robust esports ecosystem in India.
But PUBG Mobile was the biggest turning point for the esports industry in India.
Impact of PUBG (BGMI) Mobile on Esports in India:-
A well-known online multiplayer battle royale game called PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) was released in 2017. Millions of players in India downloaded and frequently played the game, making it an instant hit. As one of the most well-known games in the Indian esports scene, PUBG Mobile had a significant impact on the esports industry in that country.
Players had a chance to display their prowess and compete against one another in sanctioned events thanks to PUBG Mobile. Due to the game’s popularity, numerous professional esports teams, including Soul, Fnatic, and Entity Gaming, were created in India and participated in both national and international competitions.
As a result of PUBG Mobile’s success, organizations devoted to esports like Nodwin Gaming were founded. Nodwin Gaming was among the first to see the potential of the Indian esports market. The PUBG Mobile India Series, which attracted millions of viewers and had a prize pool of INR 1 crore ($135,000), was one of the high-profile tournaments that Nodwin Gaming organized.
Major international players like Tencent, who joined the Indian market and invested in esports startups like Nodwin Gaming, were also drawn in by PUBG Mobile’s popularity. Additionally, Tencent ran the $2.5 million PUBG Mobile Club Open (PMCO), which featured competition between international teams and Indian teams like SouL and Godlike.
Due to worries about data security and addiction, PUBG Mobile’s success in India also generated controversy, which resulted in the game’s prohibition by the Indian government in 2020. Although the ban was lifted in 2021, and the game was relaunched as Battle Ground Mobile India (BGMI). But again in July 2022, the game was banned by the government of India for some security reasons.
Current state of esports in India
1) Overview of the esports market in India
The Indian esports business has been expanding consistently in recent years, and by 2025, it is expected to reach $1.1 billion in value. Esports’ rising popularity in India can be ascribed to a number of developments, including the expansion of the gaming business, the increase of mobile gaming, and the expansion of high-speed internet access.
2) Popular esports games in India
In India, PUBG Mobile, BGMI, PUBG New State, Free Fire, Valorant, Call of Duty, and CS:GO are the most played esports titles. In India, these games have a sizable player population and are frequently included in national and international events.
3) Major esports tournaments and events in India
The ESL India Premiership, the Indian Gaming Show, and the PUBG Mobile India Series are just a few of the significant esports competitions and events that have taken place in India. These competitions draw thousands of competitors and spectators and offer significant prize pools.
4) Key players in the Indian esports industry
Several major companies, including Nodwin Gaming, Cobx Gaming, and Global Esports, are active in the Indian esports market. These businesses manage esports teams and players, organize competitions and events, and offer esports-related services.
5) Challenges Faced by the Indian esports industry
The absence of a defined legal framework, a lack of infrastructure, and limited government assistance are just a few of the difficulties the Indian esports business still has to deal with. These difficulties can impede the industry’s expansion and development and make it difficult for esports businesses to run efficiently.
Factors driving the growth of esports in India
There are several factors driving the growth of esports in India, including the following:
1) Increasing Internet and smartphone penetration
The increased use of smartphones and the internet in India is one of the main factors fueling the growth of esports in that nation. More and more people are having access to online gaming platforms thanks to the affordability of smartphones and fast internet, which has fueled the expansion of esports in the nation. One of the world’s major online gaming industries, India has over 560 million internet users and 502 million smartphone users in 2020, according to a research by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
2) Rising popularity of gaming among youth
The increased popularity of gaming among young people is another element promoting the rise of esports in India. With more than 600 million individuals under the age of 25, India has one of the highest youth populations in the entire globe. This group is known for having a passion for technology and gaming, and the rise of esports has given them a new way to indulge their interests. The demand for esports will only grow in the upcoming years as more and more young people get into gaming.
3) Government support for esports
The expansion of esports in India has also received assistance from the Indian government, which has aided in its growth. Esports were officially recognised as a sport in 2019 by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, creating new business potential for the sector. The government has also made a number of announcements to encourage the development of esports in the nation, such as the opening of esports venues and the inclusion of esports competitions in the Khelo India Youth Games.
4) Growth of esports infrastructure in India
The development of the sector has also been significantly influenced by the expansion of the esports infrastructure in India. The infrastructure for esports has considerably increased in recent years with the opening of specialized esports arenas, training facilities, and gaming cafes. This has made it possible for teams and players to practice and compete in a more organized and professional setting, which has aided in the expansion of esports in the nation.
Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Esports in India
As the industry continues to evolve and expand, it is important to understand the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Here are some key factors to consider for the future of esports in India:
1) Potential for growth and development of the Indian esports industry
The esports market in India has a tonne of room to expand and advance. The nation has the potential to dominate the global esports market due to its young and tech-savvy populace. International businesses and organizations have already invested in India’s esports boom, and both players and spectators are becoming more and more interested in the sector.
2) Challenges in terms of infrastructure, funding, and talent
The Indian esports business confronts a number of obstacles despite its growth potential. The lack of talent, resources, and infrastructure in the nation is one of the main problems. Despite recent improvements in esports infrastructure development, there is still much to be done before esports-specific arenas, training centers, and gaming cafes are established. The sector receives only a little amount of funding, with the majority of capital coming from abroad. A further factor limiting the growth and development of esports in the nation is the lack of qualified and experienced talent in the sector.
3) Competition from other countries and regions
Other nations and areas, including China, South Korea, and North America, which have developed esports industries and substantial player bases, pose a serious threat to the Indian esports industry. India has the ability to catch up, but doing so will need a lot of money and work to compete in these mature markets.
4) Role of Esports in the overall growth of the Indian entertainment industry
Esports has the potential to significantly contribute to the expansion of the Indian entertainment market as a whole. There is a rising demand for esports material and events as internet gaming and esports gain popularity. In order to capitalize on the potential of esports and its expanding fan base, this opens up a new path for the Indian entertainment sector’s expansion and diversification.
With investments from large multinational corporations like Tencent, Activision Blizzard, and Valve, the esports industry in India has been expanding quickly over the years. The rise of esports has significantly changed the Indian gaming industry and the way that the public perceives it. Esports in India have a promising future ahead of them, with the ability to play a key part in the global esports sector, despite the fact that there are still problems that need to be handled, such as a lack of infrastructure and qualified professionals. The sector can tap into India’s skill, audience, and love of gaming with the correct infrastructure, funding, and government support, making it a promising career option for the nation’s youth.