Esports, a subset of digital games, is expected to become a Rs 1,100 crore industry by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46%. Statista put out a study that said 122.10 million people will be using Esports by the year 2027.
Last year, the government of India officially recognized Esports as a sport, putting it on the same level as cricket and football. In Esports, players play games like Counter-Strike, Fortnite, and Valorant as individuals or as part of a team. This is different from casual gaming on mobile devices, consoles, and PCs.
Esports also made its start as an official medal sport at the Asian Games and as a pilot event at the Commonwealth Games. In fact, when the Indian team won the bronze award at the first Commonwealth Esports Championships 2022 in Birmingham, they made history.
The digital gaming industry is growing at an exponential rate. This is because there are more smartphones and more game laptops available, as well as cheaper high-speed internet connections and a change in entertainment habits caused by the pandemic. Esports, a subset of digital gaming, is driving this growth, according to a study by EY. It is expected to be worth Rs 1,100 crore by 2025, with a CAGR of 46%. In a recent study, Statista said that 122.10 million people will be using the Esports market by 2027.
The Esports Opportunity
Esports, like traditional sports, make most of their money from charging people to watch. This is made easier by broadcast and streaming deals with OTT players and sports programs on TV. Esports are growing in India, not just in the big cities, but also in tier 2 and tier 3 towns and cities. This is because India has a strong sports management and broadcasting ecosystem and a lot of ways to get material to people. Esports is becoming a career choice for young people because companies are hiring Esports athletes, tournaments offer big cash prizes, and sponsors can make a lot of money from them.
The rising number of Esports players and the growing interest of fans are also opening up new opportunities for brands. Esports is becoming a minefield of chances that go beyond the players and into almost every field related to the sport. Now, Esports isn’t just a hobby for casual gamers and professional athletes; it’s also a big draw for spectators and a major driver of growth in the sector. According to a paper released by Lumikai, India had the most game downloads of any country in FY22, with 15 billion installs, or 17% of the total number of downloads around the world. Also, mid-core games like Free Fire, BGMI, and Genshin Impact were played for over 80 minutes a day on average by each user, which is a lot. With more than 10% of mid-core players playing for more than 10 hours per week. To ride this wave, top companies and industry players are working with Esports teams, platforms, and tournaments.
The Next Wave
Esports is already a very successful business, and it will continue to grow and help other businesses grow as well. Lumikai’s research shows that India has had 3 game unicorns, over 6 strategic exits, and 1 successful initial public offering (IPO) since 2021. In the last 5 years, investors from all over the world and the United States have given Indian betting companies $2.8 Billion. The amount of money is up 380% from 2019 and up 23% from 2020.
The next step in the evolution of Esports could be powered by the combination of Esports and new technologies like 5G, AI, edge computing, mixed reality, etc. Intel will continue to play a key role in this evolution. AI is expected to change Esports in a wide range of ways, just like it has changed other areas of technology and how people use it.
We’ve seen Esports analytics platforms like SenpAI that use AI to teach athletes by looking at their records and recommending the best ways to play to increase their chances of winning. AI and deep neural networks can find new ways to navigate games to make them easier to play. They can also help improve game design to keep players interested and get them more involved. Machine learning can also be used to customize games based on how people play them and what they like.
AI is also likely to play a big role in stopping scams and spotting potentially dangerous betting habits. For example, Esports Technologies, a business that lets people bet and wager on Esports, uses its AI platform to find and stop strange betting patterns and match-fixing.
AI not only makes players better and helps them find new ways to play games and use methods in-game, but it also reduces the amount of resources needed to make games and virtual environments. Future advances in mixed reality experiences, virtual reality hardware, better natural language interactions, and AI-driven analytics will make the lines between sports, tech, and entertainment even less clear. But the fact that Esports are based on data will also increase the need for advanced AI solutions, and the computing power needed for that level of AI will increase the need for advanced data centres.
AI being added to Esports might seem like a small thing or a nice thing to have for casual gamers, but it is a huge help for professional Esports players and top gamers who want to be better at tactics and have a competitive edge.
Pushing for the Future Growth
Esports were added to the list of “multisports events” by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports earlier this year. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) also added a section for “matters related to online gaming.” The official recognition will give the Esports business a huge boost to its growth.
By the end of this year, the Esports market in India is expected to bring in $28.81 million. This includes money made from sponsorships and ads, goods and tickets, streaming, media rights, and publisher fees. By 2027, the size of the market is estimated to grow to $46.23 million.
As a stakeholder in the Esports industry, we think that a strong ecosystem with publishers, technology providers, streaming services, and audience monetization platforms will help drive the next stage of growth for the industry and allow Esports to become an exciting alternative to mainstream sports and entertainment for a wide range of audiences.
With the right foundational elements in place and growth drivers on track, Esports will also have a total economic impact of over Rs 100 billion through investments, direct industry revenues, in-app purchases, and other revenues. It will also create more than 11,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2025 and become a major part of the Indian digital gaming industry.