Another reason for which the e-sports gaming space is seeing increased popularity is the huge prizes offered during the gaming events.
Gaming is steadily gaining popularity in India, and this is turning into growth of e-sports at a more professional level as well. Cobx Masters was one such event which witnessed the clash of gamers as they fought to reach the top spot in two games including DOTA-2 and CS: GO. This even witnessed huge success with over 1,500 tickets sold and thousands of views following the event online on platforms like Sony Liv and Twitch. Another reason for which the e-sports gaming space is seeing increased popularity is the huge prizes offered during the gaming events. In the case of the Cobx gaming event, the winners of DOTA-2 and CS: GO walked away with cash prize of $60,000 each.
The Cobx Masters gaming event which took place for 3 days, witnessed a footfall of around 500 to 1,000 people every day. There was also a casual gaming zone for those who wanted to participate in a PUBG gaming event. PUBG is one of the most popular mobile games in India and various PUBG events are often organised across the country.
According to Cobx, the event saw teams from over 8 countries participating in the event. This year, the winner of the DOTA-2 competition was the team called Detonators and the CS:GO tournament was won by the team known as MVP PK. Both the winning teams were international ones, raising the question as to how capable are our Indian gamers on the international level, especially as professional gaming is still something new in India. According to Cobx Co-founder & CEO, Mujahid Rupani, Professional gaming has been present in India for around 2 to 3 years. However, he says, e-sports has been a part of the ‘IIT culture’ for over a decade now.
Professional gaming requires a lot of training and since it is usually played in teams, they have to have ‘chemistry’ between them in order to achieve optimum efficiency, accuracy and speed. The ability to have quick reflex is key in being able to win a game. Therefore, in many cases gamers have to spend most of their time in training for such tournaments and have to treat professional gaming as their primary professions. Therefore, going to gaming professionally is a difficult choice for any person. However, Professional gaming is a sustainable profession according to Mujahid Rupani. He says, “An average professional gamer earns around $3,000/month, which should definitely be sustainable. However gaming is a young man’s profession with the age ranging from 18 to 28 year old players, as e-sports requires sharp reflexes.” Typically once a person reaches the age of 28 or 30, their reflexes are no longer as sharp, and they are replaced by younger gamers with quicker reflexes.
The best way to convince Indian gamers that professional gaming is a viable future is by ‘Increasing the prize pool’, explained Mujahid Rupani. Sponsorship as well as more media coverage are other key factors to the growth of the gaming industry in India. Another reason for which the gaming industry is expected to gain traction is that more and more youngsters are looking for unconventional jobs.
Mujahid Rupani also gave his view on what he thinks the government’s role should be in aiding the growth of the gaming industry. He said, “Right now e-sports comes under the category of ‘entertainment’, but it should be put under the category of ‘athletic event’, as it involves as much effort as any traditional sport.” If the government can change its policy to recognise e-sports as an ‘athletic event’, it would help legitimise participation in gaming tournaments and help the industry of professional gaming grow. There needs to be a policy surrounding the gaming industry to also keep down scams. A legal framework needs to be established to stop abuse and bias in e-sports, said Mujahid Rupani. Rajdip Gupta, founder of Cobx also said, creating a central federation for gaming will help ‘create value’ in the gaming industry. In the end, as long as gaming communities across the world support each other, there will be growth in India as well.
Cobx, on its part is working to increase acceptance e-sports in India by holding around 2 to 4 such e-sport events every year. The company also hopes to widen the gaming tournaments to support games such as League of Legends, Fortnite as well as Fifa. “We are also looking at starting gaming zones,” said Rajdip Gupta. The e-sports industry is currently valued at $800 bn and Mujahid Rupani believes there is huge scope for the growth of the industry. One thing that can be said for sure is that considering the large number of youth that forms India’s population, if interest can be generated in the gaming industry, growth can definitely be achieved.