India would love a part of this Billion Dollar Pie

eSports, or electronic sports—a digital media format where virtual game-play is streamed as video content, just like football matches, with players raking in millions. In a time of social distancing, self-quarantine and containment, we are left with playing online games and watching other people play them from computer and TV screens at home. Some of the popular titles in the Indian eSports arena include League of Legends, Fortnite, PUBG: Mobile, FIFA 20, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and DotA, among others. "eSports is a sport because the speed at which a person is reacting to images on the screen is the fastest in the world. The speed at which these kids’ fingers move on a keyboard or on a screen are unimaginably high for anyone else. So, it actually comes closest to Formula One, where your hands are on a steering wheel and you're going at 300-400 km an hour with no room for mistakes," says Akshat Rathee, co-founder of Nodwin Gaming. Casual games like Candy Crush or titles online poker, Rathee emphasizes, do not qualify as eSports, which he feels is quite a misunderstood genre of video games.

India, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and home to over 1.3 billion people, has emerged as one of the most lucrative markets in recent times for esports from a growth perspective. In recent years, the country has witnessed several upcoming eSport start-ups such as JetSynthesys, FanMojo, Nodwin Gaming and Cobx Gaming that have helped in establishing eSports as an investor-friendly industry.


As of 2019, India stands 17th globally in the soon to be a billion-dollar industry. With the growth in professional gaming in India, improved infrastructure like increase in the number of avenues for gamers to participate increased internet penetration and the rising purchasing power of the consumer, gamers can now look at gaming as a professional career choice rather than just a hobby or a leisure activity.

With an estimated net worth of $818 million, the Indian eSports industry is set to grow into a staggering $1.1 billion industry and with revenues of INR 43.8 billion in FY18 which is believed to increase all the way up to INR 118.8 billion in 2023, foreign eSports giants are keeping a firm eye on India and have already started investing heavily in the market. With over two million fans and two million occasional viewers, the Indian fan base for eSports, though not the largest in terms of global numbers by any means, is slowly and steadily picking up the pace. With those number, both financially and in terms of viewership, India has become a leading destination for gaming planners to organise big gaming events such as Indian Gaming League and ESL Gaming.


On a global scale, India has just started out and has already shown the potential of becoming a top country in eSports. As it stands now, the Indian gaming industry is shaping up to become one of if not the biggest market for digital gaming. With the introduction of eSports in India, gaming is not just an avenue for entertainment anymore. With the emergence of competitive gaming, eSports is evolving as a viable career option for virtual athletes and gamers. The Indian eSports industry today is without a doubt one of the fast-growing industries in the world and it's fairly evident the future of eSports in India is quite promising.


Written by : Prof. Naren Desai