Digital Marketer by day and esports fanatic by night, Tarun is literally living his dream! He is Founder at Ultimate Battle — India’s first ever online esports platform. With over 20 years of experience, he is an esports Evangelist, Hustler and a Digital Marketing Veteran. Ultimate Battle is the result of Tarun’s dream and determination. Since its inception in the year 2017, he has guided the development from a four-person operation into an exciting and dynamic workforce catering to the online gaming needs of Indian Gamers.
The esports sector in India is growing at a tremendous pace. The credit goes to the mass penetration of mobile phones and easy accessibility of high-speed internet. The online gaming boom has also changed the user psyche. Mobile Games that once played for fun and frolic are now being played professionally for recognition, titles, trophies, and cash rewards.
The popularity of the games like PUBG Mobile, FreeFire, and Valorant among youngsters shows the recognition and acceptance of esports as professional gaming. Another booster behind the industry’s massive growth is the rise in investment in India. Leading corporate and noted venture capitalists are pumping huge capital in esports to accelerate the growth of online gaming start-ups.
Statistics show that venture capital funds have pumped $438 million in Indian gaming start-ups since April 2020. The esports industry is expected to touch the CAGR of 36% by 2025. In addition to the above, the industry is looking forward to several key trends & technologies that will drive the growth of the Indian Esports industry in 2021 and ahead.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI and machine learning capabilities will drive this growth even further. The use of artificial intelligence can reduce the challenges of human interventions in the game. AI is bringing life into mobile games. It helps to develop a virtual gaming environment for game characters comprising scenarios, motives, and actions.
Artificial intelligence is the reason behind realistic and natural game characters. The esports industry is looking forward to more advanced AI capabilities so that games can interpret and react to gamer’s in-game activities and guess their next move.
Live Streaming: Live streaming turned to be a key catalyst behind the exponential rise of esports culture in India. It helped mobile gaming to expand its reach beyond regional confines and create gaming experiences to pull a wider audience.
Streaming made it possible for game developers to make tournaments more accessible to the general public. It results in a significant increase in the number of viewers and broadcasters on these platforms. Although not all the viewers and broadcasters on these platforms are relevant to the esports industry, this increase still likely affects the industry. It’s projected that more than three hundred million people are expected to watch competitive gaming via live streaming this year. Streaming has been instrumental in making esports popular among the masses. On-demand streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube are adding value by live streaming events and tournaments.
Online streaming platforms make it easier to access and watch esports content. Esports streamers utilize these live streaming platforms to broadcast live coverage of events. It also enables the audience to participate in the events and engage with their favorite gamers.
Mobile Gaming: We have reached a stage where smartphone usage is at an all-time high. New technological adoptions and incremental technical upgrades like 5G made mobile gaming easy, convenient, and affordable for users.
The availability of affordable yet high-resolution gaming smartphones with better graphics and high-end configurations further added to the number of mobile gamers in the country. India, with over 560 million internet users makes the second-largest internet population. The portability of mobile phones allows users to play games anytime, anywhere on the go.
Over the last few years, data prices have gone down and consumption of data increased fivefold as compared to previous years. Network providers have also improved connectivity speeds and bundled cheaper data packages for users. This eventually lured people to spend more time with their smartphones.
It’s estimated that audiences consumed over 7.46 billion hours of content across all live-streaming platforms in Q3 2020. YouTube Gaming registered an increase of 156M hours from Q2 to Q3. Similarly, Facebook Gaming noted over 1 billion hours watched for the first time. It clearly shows how esports and gaming content is going mainstream.
Now it’s not enough to create a great video game for your audience, instead, the focus should be on creating and publishing competitive and engaging gaming content lined up for both streaming and broadcast television platforms. Esports companies must produce high-quality engaging sporting content and distribute it across marketing channels. This is the only way to stay competitive. Esports Content creators should create content that is relatable, correct, and designed for your geographical audience. Furthermore, the content should be optimized for publishing across channels for maximum impact.
Esports Platforms: There are several esports platforms giving amateur and pro-gamers a place to compete and for real cash and prizes. These platforms help people to turn their passion into a full-time career. Such platforms tie together tournament organizers, participants, and their fans. Most of them host all popular titles, leagues, and tournaments including PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, Fifa 21, CS:GO and League of Legends, etc. Almost every platform allows gamers to participate in free games as well as cash tournaments.
These esports platforms offer gamers multiple ways to connect and engage with other gamers. With real-time gameplay to content offerings, they deliver world-class gaming experiences and entertainment.
Post-pandemic, the Indian esports industry has seen a significant surge in user base as people had spare time to spend. To cash on this massive audience gaming platforms and streaming players are investing heavily in esports tournaments to capture their audience. The Indian esports industry is hoping to see an esports culture in 2021 that is filled with enthusiasm, creativity, and opportunities. Technical upgrades, affordable gaming handsets, and handsome game prize pools will be the key drivers of this growth.