Gamers in India make eSports a career
Competitive video gaming has long been a profession in the western world but, the good news is that, albeit late, the trend is now picking up in India
March is going to be big for Mumbai’s gamers with three Street Fighter competitions with a prize pool of Rs 15,000 and four WWE 2K16 competitions with a prize pool of Rs 40,000 at various Games the shop outlets in Mumbai. To add to that two entrepreneurs based out of Mumbai that run the Indian Gaming League are holding tournaments in FIFA, Counter Strike and DOTA2 on a weekly basis with prize money of Rs 10,000 to be won at each event. Clan Wars, one of the longest running gaming tournaments is also putting out a prize pool of Rs 1,50,000.
Mr Kunal Raul, G.M. Marketing, TP-LINK India said “eSports is a recognized profession abroad and cyber-athletes have a huge fan following. Sponsors are very keen to invest in such gaming events and patronize talents, who might go on to represent their brand name globally.” “TP-LINK has been promoting eSports internationally. However, in India the eSports scene started growing recently. We are working with various gaming event organizers to help build infrastructure for eSports in India. This will bring an opportunity for gamers to be abreast with international trends and the future of modern technologies, which helps elevate eSports to higher levels in India. Our job here is to find right customers that are apt to engage with and appreciate TP-LINK’s products, which are specifically designed to meet the eSports professionals’ and gamers’ needs. “ Raul continued. “eSports has turned out to be a multi-billion dollar industry. Professional gaming is growing bigger and you can find a tournament almost every day online. Renowned teams are patronized for their logistics, rewards and schedules. In fact, eSports viewership is set to surpass both the NFL and Formula 1 by 2020. Soon there will be a time when you walk into a coffee shop or bar and see a live broadcast of a gaming tournament on the TV alongside a cricket or football game with fans cheering and enjoying their team performing,”Raul concluded.
TP-LINK Clan Wars Mumbai qualifier saw a huge footfall of gamers come in, which resulted to qualifier being run till 4am. Two rows of computers were handled by gamers facing off in CS:GO, one of the most popular games in the eSports scene. There are multiple career opportunities in this industry and hence bigger crowds are interested. The future of eSports looks very bright. To generalize, think of it in this way; eBanking, eMedia, eEducation, eBusiness, they are all just modern adaptations of legacy concepts. So is eSports.
What success tastes like
Some Indian gamers have already started supporting themselves using gaming and have also gained recognition amongst fellow gamers. “It feels great when you are one of those lucky few who gets the opportunity to follow one’s passion and also being able to support themselves with it. Here I would like to quote a beautiful saying by Buddha “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” That’s what I did and yes it did get me success. I mean who wouldn’t love it when you get paid to play games, watch fans cheering you and your team at big events, wanting your autograph and waiting to click pictures. It does make you feel special when you receive so much love . I am glad that I got the chance to represent my country and hold my flag up high on the International stage.“ said Ankit Panth, captain, Team Brutality, one of India’s most successful eSports teams.
The shift is big
Anand Khemani’s company, e-xpress Interactive Software Pvt Ltd handles the distribution for some of the biggest international video game publishers in India and also organizes some of the best tournaments across the country. When asked for his opinion on eSports in India, he said ”When I look back at the gaming industry and compare it with today’s scenario, I definitely see that there has been a paradigm shift when it comes to what gaming looks like. Moving from casual gaming, consumers are now indulging themselves into professional gaming called ‘eSports’; which is now a matured term known to a lot of people. While it wasn’t well received initially, it is now considered as an integral part of the gaming industry. eSports has always been a global phenomenon and is now gaining popularity in India as well. When talking about eSports, Mumbai has surely seen a great advent. With introduction of events like Indian Gaming expo (IGX), Comic Con, weekly eSports tournaments organised by Games The Shop, gaming and eSports in Mumbai is in big demand. It is heartening to see players from Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi and many other cities coming to not only participate but also to win handsomely. Through all of these, a lot more awareness of hardcore competition gaming has spread amongst the young audience. We have witnessed a spectacular response in the past to our tournaments in Mortal Kombat, Pro Evolution Soccer and WWE. Henceforth, we will only be looking at doing more such tournaments until Mumbai becomes poised to be one of largest eSports destinations. This will definitely be a catalyst to change the face of gaming in our country.
Indian Gaming League
The Indian Gaming League is a set of competitions that take place on a weekly basis with winners gaining points to qualify in an annual mega-competition. “My partner and I Krish Galani decided to bring eSports to india in a big way last summer when I had gone to visit him in New York, he has been part of the eSports scene over there for a while. I saw the scene there and witnessed the tournaments and realised India doesn’t have any of this and they should. Nobody had tried to build anything like that here, so I came back and started researching, and that’s when we formed IGL. We decided we have to create this movement in a big way, that’s why we’ve approached many celebrities to help make this event as glamorous as possible. Now is the time for eSports to flourish in india, two years ago it wouldn’t have been the same and two years from now, the market will have many other people trying to create a similar platform. Today, due to many advances in technology and concepts like digital india, accessibility to the internet is only going to grow and with smartphones now being available for as low as 400 rupees everyone can have a chance to compete in the league for cash prizes and pro points. We aim at building the largest gaming community in the country.“ said Yash Pariani, founder, IGL.