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Post-Covid, Nodwin Gaming has been able to reach the 40% growth mark: Akshat Rathee

Adgully is back with a new edition of its annual feature – TRENDING NOW – where we present the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of the pandemic period.

Over the next few weeks, Trending Now will bring insights from industry leaders on how their organisations are gearing up to seize the opportunities in 2022, break through the Covid disruptions and find growth and remain resilient.

In conversation with Adgully, Akshat Rathee, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Nodwin Gaming, speaks about the key trends in esports sector that will dominate in the year ahead, the challenges and opportunities in gaming sector, performance of esports during in the Covid and post-Covid period, and more.

What are the trends that you expect to dominate in your sector in 2022?

The esports sector is certainly moving ahead at a very fast pace and we are seeing that new trends like the Metaverse are set to take forward this growth in the long run. 5G will give a much-needed push to cloud gaming as it creates a buffer-free, real-time experience for players and viewers alike. Virtual Reality is also going to amp up the game, elevating the esports sector onto its next level of growth and expansion.

What are the challenges and new opportunities that you see emerging in the year ahead?

As we speak, the umbrella of esports is expanding to include different genres through collaborations with content creators and with partners in the music and pop-culture space. The immersive, virtual world of the Metaverse has come into play and we will see this converge with esports, as they both share a common virtual, alternate world of reality. In the years to come, esports will no longer be restricted only to the world of gamers and esports professionals, but will offer opportunities for tie-ups with a range of non-endemic brands and segments. For example, we recently acquired superheroes merchandising retailer, Planet Superheroes, and also now own Bacardi NH7 Weekender. Sectors that are in no way similar, but play a huge role when combined with Gaming.

One of the biggest challenges that we face is to increase the participation of more women in esports – both as casual and professional players. Currently, esports is primarily male-dominated, but we want to change that dynamic. The other challenge is to engage with more casual players at the grassroots level and pave the path for them to play as pros at the national and international level, which we are actively working on. Our recent partnership with Challengermode is a big leap in that direction, where we provide a global platform for the players from the grassroots to advance to the next level of esports.

How strong will this sector’s growth and recovery be compared to the last two years as well as the pre-COVID period?

Esports did very well throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with more people moving to the digital space for their entertainment fix. This year, we see a continuity of that sentiment. Pre-COVID, we were growing at a steady 10-12% pace overall, but post-COVID, we were able to reach the 40% mark. The number of gamers has significantly increased, their watch time has gone up and PC shipments are on an all-time high (increased 34% YoY). These are clear indicators of the solidification of the gaming/ esports market in the country.

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