Saturday , December 10 2022

Streaming Business To Keep Growing, Says Rooter CEO Piyush Kumar

We spoke to Piyush Kumar, CEO, Rooter at the India Game Developer Conference 2022 held in Hyderabad and we touched upon some very interesting topics regarding his gaming content streaming platform Rooter and the future of the streaming business.

We discussed about Indian gaming hitting USD 2.6 billion in value and what this means for the future of the Indian gaming industry. As per Lumikai’s report, the country’s gaming market is set to reach USD 8.6 billion in value by the year 2027. We further asked him what the future looks like for the Indian gaming landscape.

“So, I think it’s a very exciting time right now. What has happened in the last few years is that things have opened up in terms of streaming, esports organisers are growing bigger, a lot of new gaming IPs have come up and lastly, a lot of gaming titles are coming out as well. We saw what happened recently with BGMI and Free Fire, which were the two largest games at the time. There are many new mobile games that have come in since then,” stated Piyush Kumar, CEO, Rooter.

Piyush Kumar, Rooter

Kumar further added that two to three years down the line, the industry will have five to eight games that will be driving 50 to 100 million gamers in their respective games. He emphasised on this stating that this was a very important component for the gaming market to grow to seven to eight billion dollars in value in the next few years.

“Once more games start pouring in, gamers will follow and streaming will grow as well. Users will consume more gaming and this is going to be monetised. So if you think about it, USD 8.6 billion is a very realistic figure,” added Kumar.

We ventured further into the conversation and asked Piyush about the rapid rise in local and vernacular-based content. With the launch of 5G launch in the horizon, there are definitely going to be drastic shifts in the country’s gaming scenario. Piyush stated that it is also true that Gaming will become one of the biggest pillars for telecom companies and handset manufacturers in the near future.

“That’s a very important part of our business. Vernacular content plays a huge role for us. At Rooter, Hindi is the most preferred language with 80 per cent of the content. The rest 20 per cent consists of all non-Hindi content. Languages such as Bengali and Telugu have also grown on our platform,” said Piyush Kumar.

He stated that there is no way that the industry can grow until it takes content back to users in their native language. “We are also investing in signing up local creators and building tech that will allow users to view content in multiple languages as we see in Hotstar. As I said, these are the fundamental gears of the Indian gaming industry. If we continue to do our bid, there is no reason that we cannot reach our goals”, added Kumar.

Finally, we asked Piyush about the inclusion of media rights in gaming content streaming. His views were straightforward about introducing media right in gaming content. This is what he had to say.

“For us to be able to pay the right amount of money for an esports IP, we need to pay attention to two different aspects of a platform business. Firstly, the number of users and secondly, developing the product. As long as we, as platforms, continue to push for increasing our users, raising money and making a product that is marketable, we will never be able to pay the right money for esports rights,” said Piyush.

There are a number of factors to be taken into consideration here. Even if streaming platforms have users, and they are not able to monetise it, they will not be able to pay for the rights. So the primary task for platform businesses such as Rooter is that they continue to grow their user base and continue to monetise them.

“If youtube is paying Activision or Riot games for their tournaments, it is because they have both. They have users and they have monetisation. Coming back to streaming platforms like us, we need to build a product that is marketable as well. Take the IPL, for example. The reason why Star was able to get the rights for the event was that they were able to build a property that they could see monetisation. In gaming too, there’ll be a bidding war. What’s going to happen in the next two to three years is that market leaders will be coming up in this space. If all goes well, we’ll continue to grow and we will be much bigger. It will be a very binary decision for esports organisers,” added Kumar candidly.

As far as the future of Rooter is concerned, Piyush stated that there is no better way to grow the platrform but to treat it like a proper consumer product which needs to have the best content and the best user experience. As per the industry leader, Rooter needs to grow organically and it needs to make revenue.

“We have always been a product-first company and we will continue to be a product-first company for the foreseeable future as well,” added Kumar.

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