The Federation of Electronic Esports Association of India (FEAI) organised a national summit, on Thursday, by bringing together key members of the industry along with sporting legends, esports talent, and representation from across key states to discuss the way forward for the sector to come together and structure a sustainable growth.
Speaking at the inaugural function, Vaibhav Dange, Founding Director, FEAI and President, Maratha Esports Association said, “India is poised to make headway in esports and reap great benefits from this pursuit, both in terms of the Indian youth’s participation in esports and their willingness to create their own identity in the global esports arena, as well as the overall development of esports as an industry as a whole. We are involved with all stakeholders to put together a draft policy that highlights the right definition of esports, how it is differentiated from online gaming, what is regulatory framework is needed and how athletes need to be ranked and protected in the long term.
Presently, India has 150,000 players and approximately 60,000 teams. This number is estimated to reach over 1.5 million by FY 2025.
Harsh Jain, Chief Executive, and Co-Founder, Dream Sports said, “This is a very exciting time for esports in India. From a sports perspective, esports is at the same stage in India that cricket was before the BCCI (via IPL) redefined the game forever and unlocked the potential of the entire cricket ecosystem. Esports has the ability to transform the way that fans engage with sports, just Fantasy sports already do for over 120 million Indian sports fans. We are proud to be working alongside FEAI and the government for the last year and we have committed to growing esports in India through multiple acquisitions and investments already.”
These will all enable esports players to complete, learn and upskill themselves through world-class platforms that are made in India, Jain added.
Rajani Navani, Founder, JetSynthesys, spoke about the immediate action required following the establishment of the FEAI.
Navani said, “Today marks a momentous occasion that we may look back to in 10 or 12 years’ time when we chart the journey of esports in India. As the immediate three-point agenda, we must first work towards maintaining the centrality of players and consolidating a talent pool in the country under a professional structure. Secondly, we must face the challenges of data sovereignty and implement a policy framework around data protection and data sovereignty; and thirdly, we must work towards making Indian esports and indigenous titles truly global. We must endeavour to create a sustainable economy around esports that aids job production and enables revenue generation.”
Beyond traditional sport, the difference in the stakeholder mix when it comes to esport is the publishers playing a critical role in the mix. So far the industry has been highly fragmented, leaving the structure and future prospects open to interpretation. Often the line blurs between esports and gaming.
Dibyojyoti Mainak, Director, Nereus Sports said, “We aim to bring about a cultural shift in the awareness around the acceptance of esports as a wholesome pursuit that is not differentiated from pursuing conventional sports. As a global player in this space, MPL is working towards conducting large-scale tournaments in esports which can bring players from all around the world to compete under one umbrella, preferably in indigenous titles conceptualized and made in India. It has been an honour for MPL to associate with the FEAI since the very beginning, having been a part of the deliberations that have taken place and to be heard by the team since the start. Going forward, we are thrilled to work together to take Indian esports to the world.”
The most critical tournaments are those held at the Asian Games as a medal sport and South Asian Games apart from the next edition of the Olympics as well.