The Esports industry in India has kept surpassing expectations since the pandemic and 2022 was another remarkable year that elevated the industry to bigger heights. Mainstream media such as television, OTT platforms, and Inox have telecasted as well as promoted Esports tournaments, consequently contributing to spreading awareness about gaming all around the country.
We have witnessed non-endemic brands and popular personalities from numerous industries taking a keen interest to explore the gaming industry and leverage it through collaboration. There has also been a tremendous rise in video gaming influencers and streamers who have been thriving in the industry and become a key medium for brands to enter the industry.
However, the most important aspect of video gaming in the country has undoubtedly been the inclusion of Esports in international multi-sport events. The Bronze medal that India won in DOTA 2 at the Commonwealth Esports Championship and our Indian driver Muhammad Ibrahim ranked #5 globally in sim racing were the highlight of the Indian Esports industry in 2022. With participation in the upcoming Asian Games, Olympic Esports Week, and potentially AIMAG 2025 also being confirmed, this is the golden age for Indian Esports on the international stage.
Defining Trends in 2023
The metaverse, Web 3.0, and 5G are going to be revolutionary for the industry in the upcoming year and we are eagerly waiting to witness their potential and impact on gaming. We will also be seeing a lot more physical LAN tournaments in 2023 being conducted on a large scale across various Esports titles. Last but not least we have the Asian Games to look forward to where India is going to compete in five Esports titles for an official medal.
Since clarity is now slowly being established regarding the differences between Esports (which is a sport) and iGaming (fantasy, fantasy, teen patti, rummy, poker, online gaming, gambling, betting etc), we can hopefully expect official recognition from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports next year and see Esports finally being considered as a real sport.
It’s time that our Esports community presents a unified voice to make India the next Esports hub.
(The author is Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation. Views expressed are personal.)