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Rise of Esport in India, what brands need to understand: Samin Ahmed

Esports is evolving as a viable career option for gamers helping them to monetize their skills and build a career out of a mere recreational activity writes Samin Ahmed, Marketing Head, BlitzkriegXP.

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Emerging as one of the most lucrative markets in recent times, the Indian Esports Industry ranks at no.17 globally with an estimated net worth of $818 million and is expected to generate revenue upto $118.8 billion by 2023. In 2019, the number of Indian online gamers was marked at 300 million and is subjected to reach 440 million by 2022. While PC gaming is emerging globally, its counterpart is revolutionizing the Indian gaming industry - Mobile gaming. With access to a wide array of PC-like multi-genre games in mobile, the Indian mobile gaming industry is projected to reach 628 million users by 2021 positioning India to be the next major gaming market. With mobile gaming, the Indian Esports ecosystem has seen increasing engagements by attracting a wide pool of consumers which PC and console gaming were not able to tap.

Being the most interactive and community-driven industry, the Indian gaming ecosystem is changing drastically with gaming crossing over as a mere mainstream entertainment to a professional career choice. With an emerging competitive ecosystem, Esports as a profession is evolving as a viable career option for gamers helping them to monetize their skills and build a career out of a mere recreational activity. The gaming community has also seen a surge in online gaming content built by content creators who curate gaming news, fan-art and video content for the community. With the increase of gaming tournaments, it has opened up opportunities for casters and even managers as well.

Even at its nascent stage, the Indian gaming industry is providing various engaging platforms with an increasing fan following amongst the Indian youth, unlocking additional opportunities for brands to market and associate with gaming than ever. Gaming offers the brand a new way to advertise to broad markets while retaining its authenticity. It also aids them to build a loyal customer base, brand affinities, and drive their sales.

To integrate and provide engaging branded content to their potential consumers, brands first must understand the medium. Every game differentiates itself in terms of environment, character, utilities and power each character is assigned. Over time, few of the brands have understood these gaming elements and have been able to successfully integrate their content into the game that resulted in positive and increased consumer engagement. Global brands like Gucci, Axe, and Formula One have also explored this space to generate viewerships in millions. Non-endemic brands like Louis Vuitton have also forayed their way into the gaming world and curated a League of Legends apparel collection in the most iconic way. During the game, the players have a wide variety of options to choose their character outfits from, which might even be a depiction of their innate personalities that they want to showcase via their in-game characters. Louis Vuitton integrated their apparel collection as the in-game character skin making it available to any and every player playing the game. While Louis Vuitton understood the appearance factor that excites a gamer, Gillette partnered with Twitch, a streaming platform, to introduce individual gamer& shaving style by leveraging the popularity of these gaming influencers to drive sales.

The young viewers in the gaming industry demand for authentic brand interactions. Hence, understanding the pain points, personal interests, and behaviour of these gamers as well as viewers is critical for a brand. Devising strategic content that provides the gaming community with a personal connection that is long-lasting as well as emotionally appealing is a challenge that a brand has to overcome to leverage the gaming platform. For this medium provides live in-streams, branded replays, sponsored giveaways with an average viewership count in millions, the possibilities for the brands converging in the Indian gaming industry are enormous.

With the introduction of innovations and technologies to the Indian gaming industry, it is expected to be a focal point for various businesses shortly. With new growth avenues, the gaming industry will continue to stay buoyant, making it attractive for investors and partners, alike.


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