The first sign of an esports event was in late 1971. It was an event organized by Stanford University, where students from many disciplines participated in the Battle of the Vintage Spacewar game. The event was the Space Invaders Championship and was attended by over 10,000 players. The massive amount of interest brought the world of competitive gaming into the public eye. The media, game developers, and many other organizations slowly began to realize and work on potentially competitive gaming.
According to Tarun Gupta, Founder, Ultimate Battle, The gaming ecosystem was growing steadily and new multiplayer competitive games were introduced where players could challenge each other directly. This paved the way for Esports, which is a category of games that are bound by rules of gameplay requiring mental analytical skills, knowledge of the game mechanics, and fast micro reflexes; played competitively and watched by fans. Games like Starcraft and Counter-Strike were some of the popular titles in the 1990s.
The Turning Point
Abhishek Aggarwal Co-Founder & CEO, Trinity Gaming believes that this segment has seen an overpowering growth and high engagement rate with technological innovations. The gaming software is now more sophisticated with a smoother interface and high quality. We can’t deny that with the advancement of the games, higher smartphone penetration, and cheap data, the gamers have also evolved and so has the industry. he further added, This pandemic played the role of a catalyst for the esports industry in India as we witnessed the highest viewership, player participation, and both endemic and non-endemic brands involvement in the esports arena. Esports/video games is a versatile industry and there is a huge scope for professional gamers as well as other jobs like casters, commentators, trainers, coaches and other support staff appointed by the esports tournaments like producers, editors, analysts, product managers, game testers, referees, production crew members, event managers, social media managers, etc. This opens a whole new avenue to more new job prospects that support this industry and are an important part of building the esports ecosystem.
Evolution & Growth Drivers
Rohit Jagasia, Founder and CEO of Revenant Esports said, In terms of gaming getting evolved in India, PUBG Moblie back in the day was the most instrumental factor of all time. With that being said, India is the biggest smartphone market in the world, as well as the data prizes, are the cheapest in India. The base of esports was already there in India through PC gaming but something that made the base stronger or probably laid a stronger emphasis on esports was first-person shooting games such as PUBG Mobile, Free Fire, COD mobile. He further added mobile gaming is one of the biggest growth drivers for the esport industry, brands using the tournaments and esports events and again the easy internet penetration is also a big growth factor as anyone can stream online and everybody can watch their favourite streamer online.
Investments & Advertising
Global gaming firms, such as Activision, Garena, and Supercell, which publish Call of Duty, Free Fire and Clash of Clans, invest in India’s esports ecosystem. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) had to be pulled out late last year due to the Indian government’s clout on Chinese or Chinese-related apps. Several companies that are part of the fast-growing esports ecosystem in India recently sought a sports classification for the sector from the government and called for it.
Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation believes Brands and investors that never had esports on their radar have started putting money behind esports companies, tournaments, and leagues. Media companies & brands are re-looking at their esports and content strategy. Gaming streamers have been able to monetize their content and rake up good monies; streaming today becomes a viable career option. While Esports is now going to be a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games as well as few other Asian Championship events and is expected to be included in Olympics in the near future, ESFI is committed to develop, support and grow the Esports ecosystem in India.