India is among the fastest-growing e-sport sectors globally. The pandemic sped up the growth of the esports industry, with millions shifting their focus to recreational gaming amid the lockdown. The widespread high-speed 4G internet use, India’s substantial young population, and the accessibility and affordability of smartphones are primary contributors to the industry’s growth.
Betting sites giving casino welcome bonus offers have also propelled the esports sector toward more revenue and growth. The widespread free-to-play gaming model adoption, which lets players play free of charge, and widespread eSports adoption in the education sector for boosting students’ cognitive abilities are other growth-inducing elements.
Esports growth in India
According to Rajan Navani, JetSynthesys founder and CEO, the esports sector has a substantial possibility to unlock economic growth while positively impacting demographic dividends. He added that Indian players doubled to 600,000 in 2021 from 300,000 in 2020, with a 29% revenue growth from ₹ 7.5 billion in 2020 to ₹ 9.7 billion in 2021.
Anoter report projected that esports will create an overall economic impact of above ₹ 100 billion via investments, in-app purchases, direct industry revenues, and other revenues while creating over 11,000 indirect and direct jobs by 2025.
Esports being recognized as a sport in India
The esports industry has advocated for esports as a competitive sport where athletes depend on their physical and mental abilities. And on December 27, the government integrated esports with India’s main line sports disciplines and recognized it as a multisport event. This official recognition separated esports from online gaming and shifted it into a similar category as soccer, cricket, and other sports. As such, esports will now be under the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.
India’s Esports Federation director, Yugal Kishore Sharma, noted that this move would attract international and domestic investment for Indian esport infrastructure, teams, and titles. He added that the official recognition would make way for brand sponsorship/ endorsements, with brands building long-term partnerships and development strategies in India.
At the 2022 Asian Games, esports was a medal event, with competitions for FIFA, Street Fighter V, League of Legends, and five other games.
In 2022, the global esport winnings amounted to $220.9 million per esports earnings, with Indian players coming 29th among all participating countries with $1.6 million.
Esports tournaments in India
India’s esports scene began with smaller LAN (Local Area Network) tournaments arranged by passionate local gamer groups looking to display their gaming skills. The grassroots competitions made way for the inception of popularized games such as Dota 2 and Counterstrike (CS: GO), which are now the Indian esports community’s backbone.
Indian Local Area Network gaming, a competing esports tournament, declared its 4th edition commencement in the country. Dates, titles, and prize pools have not been announced yet. However, the League of Extraordinary Gamers (LXG), the tournament organizers, has established that the competition will take place throughout the upcoming year. It will consist of over 30 gaming cafes in over 20 cities across India.
In a media statement, LXG noted players in the esports contest would battle it against one another in an Esports Arena League, where the winners will be offered an opportunity to participate in more significant esports events.
LXG’s managing director, Shravanth Reddy, in a statement, noted that the organization is bringing back competitive LAN environments for gaming cafes and enthusiasts from where they stopped in 2020 following the pandemic.