The year 2023 seems to be a banner year for eSports- competitive tournaments and leagues of online games- In India. In a welcome move, the government of India has officially recognized ‘E-Sports’ (Electronic Sports) as a part of multi-sports events. After all, eSports players prepare rigorously for competition and are focused on not just mental but also physical conditioning, especially endurance,much like other athletes. As per a study of eSports athletes by scientists, eSports athletes are exposed to physical strains similar to those of “normal” athletes.
This development will play a key role in getting esports out of the heavy curtains of the false notion of being just a passion. The Indian e-sports market is expected to grow at 46% CAGR to grow over fourfold from Rs 2.5 billion in 2021 to Rs 11 billion by 2025. The popularity of esports can be perceived from the number of fans, which stood at 532 million in 2022 globally.
Some of the factors driving the growth of eSports are a s below:
Maturing Infrastructure: The gaming infrastructure is maturing, whether it is the game studios that produce and publish the game, developers that continue to update these or add new features, the cloud or dedicated server providers that host the games, or the end devices that are used to play.
The smoothness of gameplay is hinged on the performance of the device used. After all, winning an F1 race is not entirely dependent on a driver’s talent, which of course plays a major part, but is equally dependent on the car as well. The same principle applies to esports. No matter how good a team is, or how evolved the rest of the infrastructure is, if the end device – the gaming PC – is not powerful enough it can potentially result in a team losing the competition.
Interestingly, storage plays an important part in a PC’s performance. Lack of storage or the right kind of storage adversely impacts gameplay from slow load times to frozen screens. Additionally, lack of storage also pushes gamers to delete existing games from their library to make room for new titles and many gamers may find this a debilitating decision. With the right gaming hard disk drive (HDD), solid-state drive (SSD), or microSDTM card, gamers can store more and keep their library growing without resorting to deleting their favourite titles.
Connectivity: A fast and reliable network connection is absolutely crucial for high-performance gaming such as eSports events. A team can lose a major esports event due to bad ping. Latency determines how quickly an input on a controller or mouse is registered through the Internet and executed on the screen.
What’s more, as a large number of fans- and this can run into millions- log in to enjoy an eSports tournament or cheer on their favourite teams, the importance of a reliable connection with low latency grows. The proliferation of 4G has given rise to eSports in the country.
Talent: Talented players make all the difference between winning and losing an event. They need to make split-second decisions, and think strategically, while the environment can be stressful. Earlier, it could have been difficult for young gamers to become top eSports players, due to many factors including the inability to have the right device, patchy connections, or no one to coach them. But today, with talent agencies, agents, and promoters, young players from even rural India are getting noticed and getting access to the right infra and coaches. While still a small number of players are getting promoters and earning lucratively, it is still a positive sign. Just like how gaming went mainstream in the last few years, this also has the potential to become mainstream in the future with more and more gamers getting noticed and making it to the big leagues.
The Indian gaming industry and eSports are headed to a better tomorrow. Players or gamers are getting the required support and the infrastructure is maturing. The government policies are providing further impetus for the growth of this sector. With the growth in the number of eSports tournaments and the growing amount of prize money pool, which is expected to grow at 66% CAGR to reach Rs 1 billion by 2025, the number of professional players is predicted to reach 1.5 million by 2025. eSports will become a lucrative career option for future generations of gamers.
Written by: Jaganathan Chelliah, Senior Director, Marketing, India, Middle East, and TIA
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