eSports are growing in India. They experienced a record year of investments in 2020 and early 2021, particularly in India, where this sector is developing at lightning speed. We can see it, for example, with the Indian company Mobile Premier League, Asia’s leading mobile gaming and esports platform, raising $90 million in September 2020.
Esports continues to grow in India
Nazara Technologies is investing in providing India with a complete eSports ecosystem.
On February 15, 2017, we learned that one of the leading mobile game publishing companies, Nazara Games, had announced through its founder Nitish Mittersain, an investment of $20 million to create and develop an esports ecosystem in India. Building it will take approximately five years, including establishing an esports league.
For the record, Nazara Games is an Indian company founded in 2000 and is present in more than 41 countries.
Almost a year later, we have the information that this same company has recently invested in the Indian startup Nodwin Gaming, thus acquiring 55% of the company’s shares. Nodwin Gaming was founded in 2014 and specialized in hosting and managing tournaments. This startup is associated with Turtle Entertainment, Valve, and ESL. It notably manages the ESL India Premiership (CS:GO, Dota2, and Clash Royale) and the Dew Arena tournaments (CS:GO, Dota 2, Rocket League, and Street Fighter V).
India, a booming esports market
India is becoming one of the most attractive esports markets, particularly with the emergence of its mobile network, which is helping to develop an esports scene around smartphone games. On the other hand, we should note that the Indian esports market includes more than 150 000 esports professional and semi-professional players and more than 300 million video game players. Furthermore, this population is more interesting because it is young: more than 59 % of players are under 30. Additionally, through ESFI (E-Sports Federation of India), the Government is in the process of structuring the sector to be able to frame, promote, educate, and organize esports competitions. As a result, the possibility of becoming a professional player in India is no longer a dream but a real career option. In addition to esports players, the esports streaming market is booming thanks to the existence of a large fanbase. According to Inc 42, young people aged 15 to 24 spend 34% of their time playing esports. On the other hand, the time spent by esports viewers on online streaming is 22 hours per week on average.
The leading esports players in India
The primary esports players present in the Indian market are Mobile Premier League, Nazara Games, and WinZO ESports.
Mobile Premier League is an Indian esports and mobile gaming platform valued at over $945 million. It achieved a second fundraising of $95 million for esports in India a few months after raising the first $90 million fund. His goal is to organize more esports tournaments in India. Additionally, Mobile Premier League is starting to expand internationally.
Another player present in the market is Nazara Games. This gaming and sports media platform was among the first to enter the Indian market for esports (via agency Nodwin) and cricket simulation (via Nextwave). Finally, WinZO ESports is an Indian mobile gaming platform whose parent company is TicTok Skill Games PVT. She regularly organizes tournaments on the Garena Free Fire and Call of Duty mobile games that she broadcasts on Youtube.
The most popular games
The most popular games in India list include mobile games, such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Call of Duty mobile, Garena Free Fire, and the very popular PUBG Mobile. With 116 million downloads, India accounts for 21% of global app users. But the latter was banned by the Indian Government following tensions with China. Indeed, the Indian Government banned 118 Chinese applications, including PUBG mobile. However, the South Korean publisher Krafton has produced another version called PUBG Mobile India which does not go through Chinese servers. It is an important issue, knowing that in terms of cash prizes, PUBG Mobile tournaments represented 18% of the total rewards in 2018. Dota 2 and CS: GO accounted for 61% of cash prizes from esports tournaments this same year. In 2019, the value of cash prizes increased by 180% by organizing international events in the country, such as ESL One Mumbai and DreamHack Delhi 2019.
That was all you need to know about the esports industry in India. But, of course, it keeps evolving, and there will always be new trends to talk about year after year.