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BW Businessworld

India Fitting Into Future Of Entertainment

India’s population and tech savvy could very well make it esports’ next frontier

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Eports is a global entertainment phenomenon not seen before. Never before have we seen sports, entertainment, and technology combine across continents and engage youth across such diverse cultures. In my various roles, I have had the opportunity to experience the esports space from a variety of industries and perspectives. If there is one constant, it is that experienced business professionals have found the favourite activities and consumer behavior of these nuanced consumers challenging to understand. My goal here is to provide clarity on this unique space, and how India fits into the future of global entertainment.

After emerging from PC bangs in South Korea, growing in popularity, and filling stadiums across Europe, esports attracted the attention of brands in the United States, who have observed declines in television viewership and participation in traditional sports among younger generations. Video games have captured the time and attention of millennials and Gen Z. While non-competitive videos games are difficult for non-endemic brands to integrate into organically, a marketing method required by the community, advertisers see sponsor-able assets, ripe for logo placement, across teams, leagues, jerseys content, and fan-filled venues. 

As we look at the current state of the esports industry in 2021, the democratisation of technology and interest from youth-marketers seems to align India well for the next phase of competitive gaming — a mobile-first society boasting the world’s largest Gen Z population. 

I recently had the opportunity to interview Patrick Carney, who is otherwise known as Chief Pat, on The DLC Drop Podcast. Carney is the founder & CEO of Tribe Gaming, the largest mobile gaming esports organisation. In the episode, Chief Pat shared the traction that mobile gaming has recently had in esports — ‘From 10 per cent of global games revenue in 2012 to where, just last year, mobile gaming did more revenue than PC and console gaming combined’ with almost $100 billion in annual revenue. 

Publishers have taken notice of this trend as well by investing in the mobile gaming sector with highfidelity games which utilize improved smartphone GPUs and cater to the increasingly low barrier to entry of mobile gamers, with titles including Riot’s League of Legends: Wild Rift, Mihoyo’s Genshin Impact, Fortnite, Honor of Kings and PUBG Mobile. 

Mobile gaming provides portability, which consoles and PC gaming do not. If there was ever a group that did not require human interaction, it would be gamers — digitally savvy and technologically connected online. However, the importance of human connection is rarely expressed more passionately than at esports competitions and gaming conventions, where we see unparalleled attendance and participation through collaboration and cosplay. Mobile gaming enables both online connectivities with in-person interaction. 

Through WiFi, this local connection becomes a global community. As 4G infrastructure evolves to 5G next year and expands across the country, Indian esports players will experience new opportunities through domestic competitive opportunities and worldwide expansion. Brands, leagues, and teams will likely look to the promising, untapped talent of India to expand into new emerging markets with promising players and vast viewers.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

John Davidson

Founder & CEO of Davidson Learning Company & leads esports business development for PRG

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