Esports is a rapidly growing industry in India, with a fan base that is expected to grow to 100 million by 2025. As the esports industry in India continues to grow, there are several ongoing trends that are shaping the industry, including trends related to content, community, experiences, and engagement.
While there is a lot of content that is being published in esports, we continue to be plagued by challenges:
Quality of Content
In terms of quality, we often see that there are challenges in terms of the quality of production and broadcast in esports (because esports is still a growing industry).
Having said that, there are organizations that have constantly improved their broadcast capabilities and are now trying to challenge their sports rivals in terms of the broadcast that we do.
In summary, while we are mass-producing content, there also needs to be an emphasis on quality and variety.
Type of Content
While quality is one part of the problem, the other is the type or variety. What I mean when saying that is, most people are trying to create one out of two types of content. Namely, they’re either creating gameplay videos or entertainment videos.
There is a severe lack of engaging educational content through esports, which it is an obvious powerhouse of.
Another content trend in Indian esports is the growth of regional content. India is a diverse country with many different languages and cultures.
Esports organizations in India are investing in creating content that caters to regional audiences, including regional language streams and regional tournaments. This regional approach is helping to build a stronger connection between fans and their favourite esports players and organizations.
Finally, esports organizations in India are investing in creating more original content. Esports documentaries, shows, and podcasts have become increasingly popular in India and offer fans new ways to engage with the esports world.
These shows and documentaries provide a behind-the-scenes look at the esports industry in India and help to build a stronger connection between fans and their favourite esports players and organizations.
The esports community in India is diverse and inclusive, with players and fans from all over the country. One of the ongoing community trends in Indian esports is the rise of female gamers.
Female gamers are becoming increasingly visible in the Indian esports world, and esports organizations are investing in initiatives to encourage and support female gamers. These initiatives include women-only tournaments, mentorship programs, and scholarships.
Another community trend in Indian esports is the focus on grassroots development. Esports organizations in India are investing in programs and initiatives to support the development of young players. These initiatives include training programs, coaching programs, and tournaments for young players.
This focus on grassroots development is helping to create a pipeline of talented players for the Indian esports scene.
Mobile gaming is becoming increasingly popular in India, with the Indian Esports market forecasted to exhibit a CAGR of 21.1 percent between 2023 and 2028. Esports organizations in India have recognized the potential of mobile gaming and have been investing heavily in mobile esports tournaments and leagues.
Mobile gaming also offers opportunities for new players to enter the esports scene, as mobile games are often more accessible and easier to play than traditional PC esports titles. It is for this very reason that titles like DOTA 2 and CS:GO had taken a backseat in India, but are now starting to pick up again with TOs investing in IPs for these titles.
Esports organizations in India are investing in creating more opportunities for fans to engage with the esports world. Fan meet-and-greet events, community forums, and online events are becoming increasingly popular, allowing fans to connect with each other and with their favourite players and organizations.
Indian outfits are also investing in building online communities and social media platforms to facilitate fan engagement and interaction.
While only a few companies like Crowd Control Esports and Nodwin Gaming have built multiple communities across genres (MOBAs, FPS, Battle Royale, Sports), most of the esports organizations in India are focused on Battle Royale as a genre. With the recent PUBG/BGMI ban in India and the future of Battle Royale as a genre uncertain, gamers and organizations alike are slowly creeping into other genres and exploring new titles.
Esports experiences in India are evolving to become more immersive and interactive. One of the most significant experience trends in the Indian esports, post pandemic, is the rise of live events or LAN events as they’re called in esports.
Esports events offer fans the opportunity to watch live matches, meet their favourite players, and connect with other fans. Esports events in India are becoming increasingly popular, with events like #AAYO PokeCon, Indian Gaming Show and DreamHack India drawing huge crowds and generating significant revenue.
While we’ve done huge live events and shows as an industry, we are yet to create that experience for fans which could be compared to the likes of major global events like League Worlds, DoTA TI, or CS Majors.
This can only happen with continued support from publishers, investors and government bodies to create memorable and appealing experiences for fans and viewers. We also need to think outside the box as an industry and innovate and adapt to stay ahead of the curve and create memorable experiences.
Finally, esports organizations in India are investing in creating more opportunities for fans to engage with esports outside of the competitive space. Not just that, esports organizations are also educating and skilling using esports as a framework, which will enable us to bring the next gen of talent into esports while also showcasing how esports can be used to teach concepts like :
- Financial planning in banking
- Risk analysis across industries
- Strategy, problem-solving, and analytical skills across industries
- Concepts like maths, mechanics, and geometry in schools and colleges
- Tech adoption to enable the older generations to be technology-friendly, not tech-averse
In conclusion, the esports industry in India is continuously evolving, and there are several ongoing trends in the industry related to content, community, and experiences.
The rise of mobile gaming, regional content, and original content are all significant content trends in Indian esports. The focus on grassroots development and the rise of female gamers are important community trends, and the rise of live events, mobile esports, and esports-themed cafes and bars are significant experience trends.
Esports organizations in India have invested heavily in the esports tournaments piece, but it’s now time to focus on the ecosystem as a whole and ensure we keep our commitments frugal, while our deliveries grow beyond expectations. Further, the model of growth and focus should always be on sustainability because we have seen numerous examples in the west, where esports firms have spent extensively on growth and then collapsed.
By continuing to innovate and invest in content, community, and experiences, the esports industry in India is well-positioned to continue its rapid growth and become a significant player in the global esports scene.
(The author is the co-founder of Crowd Control Esports, a gaming-focussed talent engagement platform)
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