eSports is becoming increasingly popular in India. Even though events with multi-figure prizes are still some time away; the competitive gaming ecosystem’s growth is producing great opportunities for talented gamers. In fact, the Indian eSports industry is set to reach ₹11 billion (~$150 million) by 2025, becoming one of the biggest markets in the world. A lot of this interest is carried by the country’s adoption of mobile gaming. While mobile eSports may be fairly new as a whole, Indians gamers are taking to them quickly. There is still some catching up to do, but overall, India is already blazing a trail in the mobile eSports segment, turning the country into a focal point of the local competitive gaming community.
Top eSports Games in India
With such a large and youthful population, it’s easy to imagine how many potential millions of gamers there are in India. Most of them don’t even know about eSports. However, measuring actual data, we were able to find out that there are around 17 million eSports viewers in India with the numbers quickly increasing. The idea of competitive video gaming is definitely not new to the country, which has already cultivated some outstanding teams and organizations across multiple sports and options. The most-played eSports games in India currently are:
- BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE
- Wild Rift
- Mobile Legends: BB
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- Garena Free Fire
All of these games are very specific to the local culture and their mobile aspect is precisely what makes them an all-time favorite with gamers. Because of their overwhelming affinity for mobile gaming, Indians have been naturals at competing in some of those “handheld eSports.” This is definitely not a downside, as the country is leading the way when it comes to new and engaging eSports technologies. With this focus on mobile eSports, the industry as a whole is set to benefit even further.
Tencent, a Chinese company is now moving out of China in terms of eSports, following a ban by authorities on weekly gaming quotas, and the tech giant will naturally seek other populous markets to launch its eSports titles, India included. Understandably, Indians are also keen to explore games beyond the mobile segment as well. That includes Dota 2, Call of Duty, Overwatch, and League of Legends. In terms of overall potential, League of Legends seems to have the most fans, but these hardcore PC games are still a little behind when it comes to full-scale adoption. That is not to say that in the future the country’s gamers won’t seek to focus on these games more aggressively and thoroughly.
Where Is Indian eSports Headed in the Future?
The future of Indian eSports is definitely bright as the country has millions of people to rely on. Gamers are taking up gaming not just recreationally but competitively and those who still appreciate eSports but cannot actively participate in them will be very happy to know that they have countless opportunities to attend eSports, whether digitally or in-person.
eSports fans are only getting started when it comes to competitive gaming and we are set to see many changes happen over the next few years. For starters, India is only now opening up to huge and prestigious land-based eSports tournaments. This means that the country may one day be hosting S-Tier eSports events, and by that we mean a World cup in Dota 2 or League of Legends or even an Overwatch or Call of Duty League franchised events. The world of eSports is evolving rapidly and India is going to continue to be a source of new players for decades to come. This is especially true when you consider that India is far from reaching its full competitive gaming potential.
What Needs to Change in Indian eSports Right Now
Indian eSports need to see more organizations willing to back important tournaments and allow everyone to benefit from new opportunities in eSports. This means that we need to see more professional eSports teams that are paying their players and keeping them on the rosters. In terms of event organizations, we would have to see a prominent host for all future events in Indian eSports. There are many great examples around the world, including ESL, BLAST, and WePlay. Well, for India’s competitive video gaming to thrive, there would have to be a local organization that puts a considerable effort into maintaining the eSports ecosystem alive and thriving over the coming years and decades. Such innovators are surely going to show up sooner or later!