Gaming & eSports in India: The Opportunity & the Challenges

Himanshu Jain | Founder & CEO | Acro Engineering Company [ Business Magazine ]

It’s no secret that healthy competition breeds champions. After all, as Ovid put it so aptly: ‘a horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace.’ What competition also does is breed grounds for engagement, entertainment, and thereby potentially large business opportunities. The expansive growth of the gaming industry is one exemplary example of this, amidst many others.
Growing up, gaming on a computer was a captivating introduction in the world of what was soon to become digital entertainment. For instance, everyone remembers the first version of DOS snake, that Nokia popularised much later, and very successfully, as a mobile playable game. We have all had some experience with the early generations of Atari and SEGA consoles, that introduced the first games where two or more people can compete against each other.(I have fond memories of competing against my sister on my Atari, and it has stuck with me since.)
The evolution of technology has seen an unbelievable makeover in the gaming industry – incredibly realistic graphics and visuals, ergonomic gaming chairs that one can sit for hours in, and immense hardware – all for an immersive experience, but the core principle still remains. Many may oversimplify it as a pastime where you just play to reach a pre-defined goal. But in reality, it’s very different to many people. In a single screen a player can explore worlds that are only limited to the developer’s imagination. Players can compete against multiple opponents from across the globe.
The eSports industry is projected to have made nearly 900 Million Dollars in the year 2018. Most of this revenue is generated through digital goods such as special player skins, collectable items, and some performance upgrades.
Many economists had predicted the rise of eSports, but they had not anticipated the sheer momentum this industry would gather with its fan base which is growing at an astounding rate. Many traditional and seasoned entrepreneurs have taken notice of this industry and are asking the same question.
What is eSports?
eSports is derived from the amalgamation of the words ‘Electronic Sports’. This involves two or more people competing in teams or individually using multi-player video games. There is a mesmerising variety of games, however the most popular kinds involve multiple players, and are thus known as MMO or Massively Multiplayer Online games. These titles include Dota 2, Overwatch, Counter-Strike and many more.
The classification of eSports games into different categories gets more intricate: there are distinctions in gameplay that results in players requiring competitors to specialise in different skill sets in order to compete.
FPS (First Person Shooter)
RTS (Real Time Strategy)
MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) or Battle Royal.
This diversification has enabled game publishers to create and captivate audiences, and has set the stage for the biggest competitive events that the world has ever seen: the championship finals for Dota 2, last year, for instance, had attained more that 15 million viewers; which is more than any sports event has ever seen.
It’s not just the viewership that brings in these astounding numbers. The prize pool for the afore-mentioned tournament was over 35 million USD; a sum that’s never been offered at any other sports competition in the world. In 2010, the same tournament extended a prize pool of just 1 million USD – a clear example of the leaps and bounds by which this industry is growing, thanks to its overwhelming support audience.
The eSports industry has also created unique employment opportunities for millions of people in the creative, event and entertainment segment.
What is the challenge?
In the competitive realm, players require hardware that allows them to run games seamlessly at the highest performance output settings.
However, given the degree of technological finesse involved, high-performance hardware come priced at steep rates, and is not easy to acquire by competitors in time.
The industry thereby loses out on much higher participation and audiences who want to play, but have to draw a line at the pricing of the systems.
Unfortunately, there are also some infamous stereotypes that surround the players and the industry, such as obsessive hours of playing, and anti-social behaviour.
The Opportunity.
The challenge of highly-priced gaming hardware has unearthed a unique opportunity for entrepreneurship: India is starting to see a surge in the number of gaming cafes in IT cities, a mega business opportunity, given its ability to entertain audiences at the fraction of the cost.
Gamers spend just Rs 300-500 per day to play at gaming cafes instead of having to shell out 100K for a gaming computer. In turn, gaming cafés are able to attain a return on their investment as early as 18 months of operations.
About the Author.
Himanshu Jain is the Founder and CEO of Acro Engineering Company (AEC), which is the leading distributor of high-performance hardware in India. Recognised as a major specialised player in the gaming industry, AEC has been one of the first companies to bring high-performance computing to India. Jain has been fascinated, since childhood, with any form of technology and the innovation behind it. He chose this passion and eventually converted it into a full-fledged business with a team of over 200 people in a very short span of time.

Related Posts