An esports market outlook: Position of India in the gaming and esports sector

Esports is a widespread phenomenon that has fanatics similar to the sports industry. Mainly because of two reasons: firstly, it defied the COVID-19 pandemic to grow exceptionally due to its digital nature. Secondly, strategic targeting from game publishers and key actors of this industry has been seeking to conquer the emerging economies in the pursuit of new markets. Esports revolves around the competition of video games by professional and amateur gamers in regional or international events. So why are massively multiplayer online games gaining traction rapidly and gaining attention from the biggest brands or even celebrities?

Let’s dive into the esports market growth internationally and in the Indian ecosystem context.   

In a global $200 billion gaming sector, esports was valued at over 1.38 billion in 2022. Statista reports suggest that contributed revenue for the year 2023 is expected to reach the exceeding $1.6 billion mark.

New industry trends have been intensifying competition in the field. Here’s how: The buoyant rise of startups, technological innovation with editorial strategies, platform developments (such as Google stadia, GeForce NOW), combined growth in sophisticated and occasional gamers, and growing demands for casual and cheap games.

The Rise of ESPORTS

Amid this competitive pressure in the video game industry, esports surely has a significant impact. Esports teams such as Fnatic, 100 thieves, OG gaming, Team vitality, and many more participate in leagues such as ESL, and ESEA which allows benefits from the additional revenue stream by producing content on Twitch and Youtube gaming for esports enthusiasts and casual spectators.

NewZoo (an esports research company) has claimed that the audience for video game competitions will exceed half a billion people. Another study by Xerfi Global has found that there are already over 577 million people watching these competitions. This evolution allows advertisers to raise the market value. It is no wonder that sponsorship and media rights are the two top revenue segments of esports worldwide. 

The Asia-Pacific region accounts for nearly half of video game sales in 2021. China alone enjoys a quarter of the global market share in the video game industry with the highest engagement of 47% with eSports in Asia reported by Statista in 2020.

Despite the dominance of China and North America in the esports industry; India with a 1% global market share has yet to take off. However, rapid advancements in the field will situate the Indian market at INR 43.8 billion, which is anticipated as INR 118.8 billion by FY23, according to the IFSG-KPMG survey.

Key segments in Asia responsible for hypergrowth are the following:


  1. Sponsorship & Advertising -($294.3 million)
  2. Merchandise & Ticketing -($67.74 million)
  3. Media Rights -($61.26 million)
  4. Streaming -($42.24 million)
  5. Publisher Fees -($26.57 million)


Every continent, region, or even city and district can vary in terms of demographics so how India is situated in the Asian esports market?

Market revenue on the continent increased by around 90 million U.S. dollars, reaching 492.1 million that year. Esports familiarity in China was reported to be 72% with the top spot where India marked 11th place in the study. The Statista Consumer Market Outlook estimates that the revenue of the market will continue to increase and by 2026 reach over 952 million U.S. dollars. 

As of May 2022, leading eSports countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region by all-time earnings have seen India establishing 14th place with $2.11 million.

Upsurge in the number of professional players active in eSports tournaments in the Asia-Pacific region in 2021 has been remarkable. And, India is not behind in this race where Statista ranked India in the 9th place with 274 pro gamers in 2021. It is growing more day by day as Indian pro gamers are highest in the count with number #1 rank if we limit the scope of geography to the East Asian region.

Most popular teams in Asia-

  1. G2 Esports
  2. Cloud9
  3. Fnatic
  4. T1
  5. Invictus Gaming
  6. Team Secret
  7. Evil Geniuses

Most popular teams in India-

  1. Fnatic
  2. Evil Geniuses
  3. Cloud 9
  4. G2 Esports
  5. Team Secret
  6. Invictus T1

Ranking of streaming platforms specific to online gaming in India-

  1. YouTube
  2. Facebook gaming/Metagaming
  3. Twitch

Despite slower growth compared to China, India is rapidly expanding its esports industry and is poised for a bright future. The government of India has taken an initiative to tap into the growth rate of this trade. An analogy between Indian foreign direct investment policies and China’s strict stringent policies could be advantageous to the infinite potential for this business field in India even more.

Also Read: 5 Reasons why Esports can easily overtake cricket popularity in India?