The popularity of esports is on the rise in India as can be seen in the various prize money tournaments and leagues being organised. Many tend to confuse it with online gaming. But esports requires competitive game play, a tournament or league format and use of skill, most often physical skill.
Though at a nascent stage, the esports market size in India is now pegged at Rs 3 billion in FY2021. And according to a new report from EY, it is expect to reach Rs 11 billion by FY2025.
The esports industry is expected to grow at 46% CAGR over the next four years and streaming platforms will generate the largest chunk of esport revenues.
The report, titled ‘Ready. Set. Game ON!’, envisages esports to have a much larger economic impact. "We expect it to generate economic value of around Rs 100 billion between now and 2025," the report said.
Crunching more numbers, the report added that 1.5 million players, 85 million viewers, 20+ broadcasters and several brands, organisers and publishers will collectively define the esports market in India by 2025.
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Regulatory challenges persist
Presently, about 4% of mobile games on the Play Store are from Indian publishers. Indian developers are expected to create games that are better suited for esports tournaments, the report claimed.
"The number of Indian gaming studios have grown 5x since 2015. There are over 14 esports broadcast platforms in 2021 which are expected to cross 20 platforms by 2025. While current viewership is 17 million, over 85 million unique viewers will watch esports tournaments in the country by 2025."
Esports tournament viewership is also expected to grow over 4x to Rs 6.5 billion by 2025, so much so that the industry could explore subscription revenue models.
The prize money or prize pool would likely contribute to about 10% to the esports economy and reach an estimated Rs 1 billion.
The report, however, cautioned that the industry is faced with regulatory challenges and uncertainty such as misconception that esports is gambling or a game of chance and its consequent banning by certain States.