Unlocking the potential of eSports in the events industry: Mazhar Nadiadwala, Managing Director, Dome Entertainment
In India, eSports is still a niche segment but is slowly gaining traction as one of the most popular events of current times writes Mazhar Nadiadwala, Managing Director, Dome Entertainment.
It is in games that many men discover their paradise. – Irish Poet, Robert Wilson Lynd
Gaming is often misconstrued as entertainment created for teenagers or the youth, and therefore taken very lightly. While this assessment may have been the case in the early 2000s, this is not the case anymore. Today, the very definition of gaming has been redefined to an activity that requires skills, practice and strategic minds. Due to the advent of technology, the industry has grown beyond expectations and found new avenues to propel its growth. From requiring specialised equipment and gear, gaming today has become more accessible, with the popularity of mobile games like Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG), Fortnite, World of Tanks, and Clash of Clans, among others.
Tournaments where professional gamers competed against each other, are slowly gaining momentum. These tournaments called eSports are already the norm in other Asian countries like Japan, China and South Korea. International championships like The International, Intel Extreme Master, and the Evolution Championship Series, are large-scale mega events that attract a footfall that matches ones in leading football or cricket tournaments.
Naturally, gaming today has become a professional sport and has even found recognition in international events like the Asian Games. In the Asian Games 2018, India won a bronze medal in the online game Hearthstone, which marked the turning point in the world of gaming in the country. Over the years, the events industry has witnessed remarkable growth and has branched out into bigger and more diverse categories.
In India, eSports is still a niche segment but is slowly gaining traction as one of the most popular events of current times. An approximate 600 million people in the country are expected to become active gamers by 2020, with the industry’s value reaching as high as USD 1 billion. Team and alliance based games such as PUBG, Counter Strike, Call of Duty, etc. are also playing a significant role in bringing people together regardless of region, caste, religion and class. Similar to how, with appropriate financial backing and support Pro Kabaddi League made Kabaddi a mainstream sport overnight, eSports is also expected to follow the same growth trajectory if it witnesses appropriate funding.
The popularity of real sports leagues has propelled Egaming to a higher level, for example FIFA, F1 Racing, motor sport, NBA and many more. Depending on the likes or hobbies of the Egamers in the real sports world, they tend to get addicted to the leagues creating their own team and networks. This has also been a huge revenue stream for the league state owner as well, where they garner huge revenues in the form of licensing fees. With this phenomenon the Egaming companies now having millions of followers, growing at rapid rate.
Keeping in mind the growing popularity of gaming among adults, and the untapped potential it has to bring together communities; eSports is expected to be the next big revolution for the events industry. With tech giants like Intel and Microsoft providing their support to this growing gaming industry, all these events need, is a strong organizational support from the event industry to attain its full potential as a mainstream sport in the country. While India is leaving its mark in the global gaming segment with notable international wins like the one at the Asian Games, there is still scope for a lot of growth in making eSports a vital part of India’s event industry.
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