There is so much that can be done in esports in terms of education & driving social change

India today is the world’s second largest gaming market, however, in terms of app downloads India is the world’s largest mobile gaming market. As per Statista, the country recorded 421 million online gamers in the year 2022, an 8% growth over 2021. This number is expected to reach over 442 million by 2023.

Pegged at $3.02 billion in 2023, Mordor Intelligence’s report expects the gaming market size in India to reach $6.26 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 15.68%. The report states that the growing IT infrastructure, driven by the rising use of smartphones and high-speed Internet, is one of the major factors driving the market growth rate in the country.

Emerging technologies such as Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, wider implementation of 5G are poised to bring about a new renaissance in the country’s gaming industry.

At the same time, the industry is also facing some challenges – the most pertinent of them being the 28% GST for the gaming industry. There are also legal issues, wherein the courts in some states are banning some formats of money-based gaming and often the demarcation of skill-based and online betting games is blurred.

The third edition of GAMEXX 2023 was held on September 15, amid such a dynamic scenario and aimed to explore the new frontiers in gaming. In a short period, GAMEXX has come to be a hub where professionals, enthusiasts and industry leaders converge to celebrate the limitless potential of gaming. The event this year saw a  panel discussion on ‘E-sports - Opportunities and Challenges’, which discussed the growth of e-sports, its impact on the gaming industry, and the challenges faced by e-sports companies and players. The session was chaired by Saurabh Bhatia, Category Lead - Gaming, Expand My Business, and the panelists included:

Anirudh Nagpal, Managing, Director & Co-Founder, Ebullient Gaming, India

Nitin Goel, Country Manager, Gameloft

Peeyush Kumar, Founder & Co-Founder, Crowd Control Esports

Saurabh Bhatia started the session by asking Anirudh Nagpal, “How has Ebullient Gaming India driven technological advancements within gaming with respect to hardware, software and streaming industry?” Nagpal replied, “Technology is transforming the whole world and making it a better place. Also, cities are getting smarter and smarter now. Right now we are living in an era of crazy innovations, technologies in which gaming is at the forefront and Ebullient Gaming India is at the forefront of the evolution of gaming in its ability to serve 90% of the gaming audience right now. From biggest gaming tournaments to top esports to gaming content creators and publishers, we are a company that impacts the companies impacting gaming in India.”

Next, Bhatia asked Nitin Goel how he felt about esports’ influence over game developers to create titles, within competitive features and balanced gameplay.

Goel revealed that he has been a huge proponent of esports for a long period of time, from an Indian market perspective. “We did one particular event in 2018, and on our side, we were not as much a structured esports player out there in the space, however there have been some great learnings for us. There have been some particular companies focussing on esports titles. Gameloft as an organisation has not dished out any title which is esports first. The fact remains as an esports industry, looking from the prism of Gameloft, is still a relatively smaller industry, and this organisation is not fully evolved in this space. But I believe what really brings an important aspect is the competitive element, and the accommodating element coming before, which actually helps the game in terms of driving engagement, higher revenue realisation. This is a space which is evolving, we should see significant progress happening across esports, we should make game publishers more focussed on their side in terms of driving more esports growth,” he maintained.

Bhatia added here that he has been in conversation with a lot of Gen Zs who are pretty much into gaming and considering it as a career. He wanted to know from the panellists about the different ways in which esports can be used to promote education and bring about a social change.

Peeyush Kumar said, “There are many ways in which esports can be used to drive social change. I have been a gamer since 1997. My first title was Paid3Arena, from there I have lived the journey of playing different titles, be it competitive counter strike, and a host of other games. In terms of the educational aspect, there is so much to learn. I have learnt about the vocabulary, agility, game mechanics such as the puzzle solving aspect. Sometimes, I would be stuck at a particular game for days and try to solve it. So, it’s no longer a game you are trying to solve, but a complex equation you are putting your head into. When you are trying to play competitive esports, you have to drill down and understand the very basics of the game mechanics. For instance, if you are playing as a shooter, how much damage one bullet is going to do?, How much is it going to do from a close distance?, How much is it going to do from a long distance?, and how many seconds is it going to take from one place to another? There are so many calculations involved that have to be processed in mini-seconds. That is the educational aspect of it.”

Talking about social change, Peeyush Kumar said that Anirudh Nagpal and the team have been at the forefront of bringing fabulous stars like Carry Minati. “In terms of driving social change, we have to talk about the stigma around esports. We are a country which does not believe in earning our livelihood through playing games, but through education. As stalwarts of the industry, we always try to champion the cause, that esports is not just a waste of time, there are so many skills involved in it that people can’t fathom at all – in terms of diversity, mental health awareness. There is so much that can be done in esports and gaming in terms of learning, skilling, education and driving social change.

These are edited excerpts. For the complete panel discussion, please watch below:


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