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eSports in India – A Rising Phenomenon and A New Career Path

In recent years, India has witnessed a remarkable increase in the popularity of esports, marking a significant shift in the country’s gaming landscape. What was once considered a niche hobby has now blossomed into a thriving industry, captivating millions of gamers and spectators alike. This explosive growth can be attributed to various factors, each contributing to the meteoric rise of esports across the nation. One of the primary catalysts has been the increasing penetration of smartphones and affordable internet access, particularly in urban and semi-urban areas. With smartphones becoming universal, gaming has surpassed traditional boundaries, reaching a diverse demographic of players spanning different age groups and socio-economic backgrounds.

 

Additionally, the rise of social media and digital streaming platforms has played a pivotal role in amplifying the visibility of esports in India. Platforms like Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Gaming have provided a global stage for Indian gamers to showcase their skills, engage with audiences, and build communities. This digital exposure has not only accelerated the growth of individual gamers but has also catalysed the development of esports organisations, content creators, and tournament organisers.

 

Moreover, the increasing recognition of esports as a legitimate form of entertainment and sport has fueled its mainstream acceptance in India. Once relegated to niche gaming conventions, Esports events are now drawing large crowds and garnering media attention comparable to traditional sporting events. 

Major tournaments such as the ESL India Premiership, Indian Gaming League (IGL), and the PUBG Mobile India Series have become annual spectacles, attracting thousands of participants and spectators from across the country.

 

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for the exponential growth of esports in India. With physical sports events cancelled or postponed, esports emerged as a safe and accessible alternative for competitive entertainment.

 

As per analyses, the eSports sector is forecasted to reach Rs. 1100 crores by 2025, with a remarkable Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 46%. Nonetheless, this upward trajectory signifies merely the inception of its expansion. Notable research undertaken by Ernst & Young (EY), a leading audit and consulting firm, underscores the significant economic impact of eSports.

 

Table of Contents

 

 

What is eSports?

 

Esports, short for electronic sports, refers to organised competitive video gaming where players or teams compete against each other in various video games. These competitions can range from small-scale local events to large-scale international tournaments, often featuring popular video game titles across different genres, such as first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs), and sports simulations.

 

Professional esports players often dedicate significant time and effort to hone their skills, compete in tournaments, and build a following. Like traditional athletes, they may also have sponsorships, endorsements, and team affiliations. Esports has evolved into a multi-billion-dollar industry, encompassing not only competition but also merchandise, media rights, advertising, and more. What makes esports so popular? The increasing appeal of esports is not solely tied to the substantial prize pools awarded to winners but also to its accessibility. Unlike traditional sports, esports necessitates only internet connectivity, enabling participants to engage from any location worldwide, unhindered by physical barriers, and conveniently from home, including via smartphones.

 

The advent of streaming services and the implementation of 5G networks have also played a pivotal role. Streaming platforms enable seamless, real-time viewing experiences for spectators without lags or latency issues while facilitating interaction between players and their audience or subscribers.

 

Overall, esports represents a dynamic intersection of gaming, technology, and competitive sports, offering participants and enthusiasts an immersive and engaging experience in the digital realm.

 

The Rise of eSports in India

 

The origins of esports in India date back to the early 2000s, marked by the emergence of LAN gaming cafes proliferating across the nation. These cafes provided a venue for avid gamers to congregate, engage in multiplayer gaming sessions, and initiate informal competitions. Subsequently, with advancements in technology, the rise of online gaming platforms and tournaments gained momentum, fueling a surge in the popularity of esports in the country.

 

A significant turning point for esports in India occurred with the advent of mobile gaming. The widespread adoption of smartphones, coupled with affordable data plans, democratised access to gaming for a broader audience. This accessibility has led to a substantial increase in the number of players in India as mobile gaming has become more attainable to millions of individuals.

 

The rise of esports in India is propelled not just by the increasing number of professional gamers and enthusiastic communities but also by their relentless pursuit of improving their gaming skills. These dedicated players are pivotal in driving the industry’s growth as they actively invest in in-app purchases, subscribe to gaming services, and become members of gaming communities. 

 

India has experienced a significant increase in both the number of tournaments and specialised platforms that orchestrate these gaming leagues. Popular esports games such as BGMI, PUBG, Call of Duty, Tekken 7, DOTA 2, and FIFA have contributed to this trend. The younger generation in India has played a pivotal role in driving this growth.

 

Furthermore, with the growing trend of female participation observed across various game genres, esports platforms strategically cater to female gamers, thereby broadening the player base and promoting inclusivity within the gaming industry. Moreover, the escalating support from policymakers is providing essential reinforcement for the sustained evolution and vibrancy of the Indian esports industry in the long term.

 

Key Players in the eSports Sector

 

Esports tournaments are made possible through the collaborative contributions of five distinct categories of stakeholders, each indispensable for nurturing a comprehensive ecosystem. The key players in the eSports industry include the following:

 

  • Publishers: In the domain of esports, every game is considered the proprietary creation of its respective game developer, commonly grouped under the umbrella term “publishers.” Publishers are entities that fund the creation, promotion, and production of video games, overseeing their release to the market through agreements with distributors, retailers, and platforms. 

 

  • Tournament Organisers: While certain esports tournaments and events are directly managed by the game publishers themselves, including some of the largest ones, many are orchestrated by independent promoters or tournament organisers. These organisers are tasked with planning and executing video game competitions for amateur or professional players, adhering to the guidelines established by the respective game publisher for each title.

 

  • Teams: Esports teams, also known as “team organisations” or simply “esports organisations”, are entities or associations that hire players to represent them in competitive events. Currently, hundreds of professional teams are participating in esports tournaments and events worldwide. These professional teams have established sophisticated organisational frameworks and employ specialised personnel, such as coaches, analysts, scouts, nutritionists, physiotherapists, and psychologists, who possess advanced technical expertise.

 

  • Players: Players range from highly paid professionals contracted by teams to compete in prestigious world-stage tournaments and leagues to individuals participating at various levels, spanning from grassroots events to top-tier national or international competitions. Notably, a significant allure of esports lies in the opportunity for regular players to occasionally compete in the same events as renowned esports personalities.

 

  • Audience: Without an audience, esports would not exist, as they rely on the millions of viewers who watch live video streams daily and the devoted fans who travel domestically and internationally to attend live events, often multiple times annually. Moreover, since each video game is unique, it attracts diverse audiences and demographics. Additionally, esports enthusiasts are highly specialised, forming communities around specific games, competitions, regions, websites, teams, players, or other personalities, showing their unwavering support and dedication.

 

Career Scope in eSports

 

The career scope in esports in India is rapidly expanding, offering a multitude of opportunities across various domains. Here are some potential career paths within the esports industry:

 

  • Professional Gamer: This is perhaps the most well-known career option in esports. Professional gamers compete in tournaments, leagues, and events, earning prize money, sponsorships, and salaries from esports organisations.

 

  • Coach/Analyst: Esports teams often employ coaches and analysts to help improve player performance, develop strategies, analyse gameplay, and scout opponents.

 

  • Tournament Organiser/Event Manager: Organising and managing esports tournaments and events requires skilled professionals to handle logistics, production, marketing, sponsorship, and coordination with teams and venues.

 

  • Esports Journalist/Reporter: Journalists cover esports news, events, and developments, writing articles, conducting interviews, and providing analysis for esports publications, websites, and media outlets.

 

  • Game Developer/Game Designer: Game developers and designers create video games that serve as the foundation for esports competitions, working on aspects such as gameplay mechanics, balance, and esports features.

 

  • Broadcast Technician/Production Crew: Broadcasting esports events require skilled technicians and production crew members to handle equipment setup, live streaming, audiovisual production, and post-production editing.

 

These are just a few examples of the diverse career opportunities available in the burgeoning esports industry in India. With the continued growth and professionalisation of esports, the demand for skilled professionals across various disciplines is expected to rise, presenting exciting prospects for individuals passionate about gaming and esports.

 

Future of eSports in India

 

The proliferation of tournaments and the endorsement of governmental backing have led to numerous sponsorships and opportunities for brand endorsements. This development is incredibly positive, as sponsorships and marketing initiatives play a vital role in advancing infrastructure, investments, and professionalism, collectively nurturing a thriving ecosystem.

 

The future of esports in India holds immense promise, with all the necessary ingredients in place for the country to establish itself as a major player on the global esports stage. Driven by a predominantly young population deeply engaged in gaming and the rapid pace of digitalisation, this momentum appears unstoppable. Present conditions for the expansion of esports are highly conducive, benefiting from government support, a plethora of upcoming tournaments, strong sponsorship, investor backing, and ample resources to facilitate excellence.

 

Wrapping Up

 

The esports industry in India has experienced a significant surge in popularity, transitioning from a niche hobby to a thriving industry. Factors such as the increasing penetration of smartphones, accessibility to gaming, and the rise of social media and streaming platforms have contributed to this growth. Additionally, the endorsement of governmental support has led to multiple sponsorships and brand endorsements, further fostering the development of infrastructure and professionalism within the industry.

 

This upward trajectory has opened up a wide array of career opportunities within esports, including professional gaming, coaching, event management, journalism, game development, and broadcasting, among others. With the continued growth and professionalisation of esports, the demand for skilled professionals is expected to rise, presenting exciting prospects for individuals passionate about gaming and esports.

Looking ahead, 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. With strong government support, increasing investments, and a youthful population deeply interested in gaming, India is poised for continued growth and success in the esports industry. Enter the amazing world of eSports with the Certificate Program in Gaming and Esports in collaboration with Nodwin Gaming at Hero Vired.

 

 

FAQ's

Yes, esports can be a lucrative and rewarding career in India, given the rapid growth of the industry, increasing investments, and rising opportunities for professional gamers, coaches, analysts, and other esports professionals. With the right skills, dedication, and strategic approach, individuals can build successful careers and thrive in the dynamic world of esports.
To join Indian esports, you can start by honing your gaming skills in your preferred game and participating in local tournaments or online competitions. Networking with existing players and teams, staying updated on esports events, and actively engaging with the community can also help you get noticed and pave the way for potential opportunities within the Indian esports scene.
The current state of esports in India is dynamic and rapidly evolving. With increasing popularity, growing investments, and government support, the industry is experiencing significant growth, attracting a diverse audience and creating numerous opportunities for players, professionals, and enthusiasts alike.
Anyone can potentially go pro in esports with dedication, practice, and skill development. While natural talent may play a role, consistent effort, training, and participation in tournaments can help aspiring gamers improve their abilities and compete at a professional level.
Yes, esports is legal in India. The Indian government recognises esports as a legitimate form of competition and entertainment, and there are no specific laws prohibiting its practice or participation in tournaments. However, it's essential to adhere to any regulations or guidelines tournament organisers and governing bodies set forth.

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