The Rise of Esports in India
At the beginning of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic first rattled the sports sector worldwide, India’s obsession with physical sports also took a backseat. The lockdowns forced the regular sports tournaments and seasons to be postponed and the ardent Indian fans were forced to seek their adrenaline rush elsewhere.
It was during these confusing and uncertain times when the Esports industry in India saw an exponential rise in both participants and viewers. India’s tryst with video games such as PUBG Mobile and Free Fire had already begun before the pandemic. However, the compulsion of having to stay home pushed even fans of physical sports towards the naturally social-distanced world of Esports.
With more and more people now playing as well as streaming PUBG, Free Fire, or even PC and console games such as FIFA, the Indian Esports industry was blessed with a growing audience as well.
A Growing Frenzy for Streamers
While international streamers have long been popular (looking at you, PewDiePie), the number of Indian streamers definitely saw a much-needed increase in 2020. Because of regular Esports contests and tournaments, with rather hefty winnings, quite a lot of Indians have now ventured into the world of playing video games professionally.
Moreover, the magnetic pull of streaming platforms such as Youtube and Twitch have given gamers the right stage for their talented gameplay. In a pandemic where actors and other entertainers were out of work, streamers were taking the internet by storm.
A Billion Dollar Industry on the Rise
Esports has now become one of the fastest-growing industries in India. The Esports sector in India made as much as $1.17 billion last year! This billion-dollar industry is estimated to grow up to 10 times in the next couple of years alone.
Such an impressive growth can be attributed to the money pouring into the industry, which was helped due to the pandemic. With regular inter-regional and inter-city tournaments, as well as larger brand sponsorships pushing the envelope even further, Indian Esports has managed to do quite well for itself.
2020 also witnessed the growth of several of the gaming startups, such as Nodwin Gaming, FanMojo, Cobx Gaming, etc. All the rising investments into the Esports industry in India clearly points to the obvious – everyone wants a piece of this billion-dollar pie!
Esports in India and Real Money Gaming
Even within Esports, mobile games have taken the larger share of the industry in India. While there is a surge in PC and console gaming as well, most Indians prefer to use mobile phones as their chosen implement for gaming.
But it wasn’t just action games that recorded high numbers of downloads. Mobile games such as Poker and Teen Patti apps blew up more than usual as well. Real money gaming apps such as these allowed players at home to play while also earning a bit of extra cash through these apps.
Esports also became the subject of the online betting industry. Quite a lot of betting sites made the executive decision to include esports betting options, so that they could attract the audiences that made the recent shift from sports to Esports. Betway, one of the most popular betting sites in India, now has an entirely exclusive section dedicated to Esports betting. Additionally, live betting options allow users to gamble while streaming their favorite gaming contests.
The Future of Esports and Mobile Gaming in India
As the turbulent year comes to a close, we can hope that normalcy will soon return to our lives. However, the growth spurt that Esports and mobile gaming have recorded in India is bound to keep to its upward trend.
As the world of video gaming and Esports becomes a more popular and widespread activity in India, the industry is bound to create more career opportunities for a country plagued with a downward economy and unemployment. With desi game developers coming to the forefront with highly anticipated titles like FAU-G, the Indian gaming industry is bound to be pushed to even greater heights.