Do you remember the days when all college friends used to huddle together to play Counter Strike? I am talking about the year 2004. Long before eSports had become a phenomena, where the casual games used to be just some games between friends, and when the online boom of playing games was yet to happen.
All this has changed now. We are seeing multiple gaming news stories about companies in India taking investing heavily in the gaming infrastructure. Number of bigger giants such as Paytm and Nazara have invested heavily in the gaming infrastructure of India.
This means great choices for the Indian customer. There was a time when we used to play rummy with our friends and family, sitting under the roof. Now, it is all about playing on our mobile phones. Ludo was a game to be played between friends with the dice rolling, and you were waiting for the 6’s to be coming up. Now it is about the Ludo King being played online with your friends sitting in different continents, and also chatting with them at the same time.
A lot of the reason for the online games to be taking up so high in popularity is also because of cheap internet connection available to the masses, and the falling prices of smartphones. The billion plus consumer market is heavily (almost 40%) penetrated by smartphones, and people have skipped the age of learning computers altogether. Cheap data availability means great consumption of YouTube videos, Netflix and Amazon Prime binges; along with another set of casual users who would like to play games online.
Somewhere in between all this, another thing came along which yet again changed the face of smartphone gaming. We are referring to Pubg. Esports in India had never really taken off as much before on smartphones as what Pubg brought to the masses. Previously, eSports was largely confined to users of Xbox and Playstations, and purchasing highly expensive consoles and games.
Now with the help of a decent smartphone, costing a fraction of the price of a console, can play a high quality FPS (First Person Shooter) game. The speed was as fast as it can get, and there was no price to pay except the cheap internet. For those who were ambitious, made little purchases within the small world economy of the game, to upgrade themselves in different suits and armours. While being a tiny fraction of the total set of people who paid for upgrades, in the burgeoning Indian market that fraction was more than the total population of several countries.
A number of competitions have been organized for eSports in India, a lot of them being around Pubg and other FPS games that can be played on computer.
With the current pandemic not allowing people to step outside the houses, it is no wonder that the audience for the esports has grown massively. Even if the restrictions are released, a lot of them will still prefer to play safely in the confines of their homes rather than venturing outside.