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The Rise Of E-Sports In India

As users are experimenting with different virtual games, every gaming company is trying its best to retain its users and attract more people by employing various marketing strategies and techniques

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The E-sports companies in India are increasingly producing engaging virtual games, which leads to a rise in the number of gamers in the country. While children around 10 years of age enjoy playing games based on cartoon characters, older people spend long hours in front of the screen playing all kinds of virtual games from Football to Kabaadi. As users are experimenting with different virtual games, every gaming company is trying its best to retain its users and attract more people by employing various marketing strategies and techniques.

Nazara Games is one such gaming company which was established at a time when gaming was not very popular among the masses. The company which has been working with three-fold objectives of creating engaging and viral content and acquiring users through social media platforms has over 20-25 million active users. 

Another e-sports startup, Cobx works with the aim of providing entertaining and engaging content to attract more users.

While these companies function with different objectives to attract users, Dream 11 uses a unique marketing strategy. It launched a campaign ‘Dimaag se Dhoni’ featuring M.S. Dhoni which was well received by the people.  This was followed by the launch of their second film Dimaag ki Kick during the 2018 World cup football. Talking about the success of these campaigns Harsh Jain, CEO and Co-founder of Dream11 says, “Both campaigns struck a chord amongst the masses, which resulted in our user base growing from 2 crore users at the start of IPL to 4 crore+ users by the end of the football season.”

Yoozoo, however prefers branding partnerships with Youtubers, social media marketing and even offline events to engage more and more people with their platform. The startup focuses on Indian market and produces localized games in social casino category. Furthermore, it plans to launch more games in casual gaming and other genres specific to Indian users. Yoozoo already has 5+ million downloads with a wide audience reach in multiple languages like English, Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi.

Target Audience and Health Impacts
Talking about their target audience Mujahid Rupani, CEO of Cobx says, “Twenty seven percent of our audience are from the age group of 10-20 years, 48% are from the age group of 21-35 years, 22% are from the age group of 36-50 years and 3% are from 51-65 years of age. Our target group consists of people who are highly educated, tech savvy, belonging to a high-income group and value loyalty immensely.”

E-sports companies constantly try to develop engaging content for every age group. Kids and older people in the age group of 51-65 years are active users of these platforms. By producing games on cartoons like Chota Bheem, Nazara Games has emerged as the largest games publishers for kids games and it has 15 million active kids users playing these games. Interestingly, there was a rise in the female sports fans playing virtual games according to Harsh Jain, CEO and Co-founder of Dream11. 

From the above data, it is clearly evident that these highly engaging games which are addictive in nature succeed to a great extent in keeping their users glued to one place. But will this lack of movement and constant focussing on the screens not have adverse impacts on the health of the users? Most of the CEO’s of the gaming companies did not agree with this.

Harsh Jain, CEO of Dream11 believes that it is a ‘Game of Skill’ that enables fans to test their intellectual prowess, encourages them to take control and also provides the thrill and excitement of a live match from the comfort of their homes. 

While Mr. Anuj Tandon, CEO of Yoozoo Games states that their target audience of 18+ years are mature enough to make choices related to their playing times, Manish Agarwal, the CEO of Nazara Games has a completely different point to make. Mentioning about the inclusion of E-Sports in Olympics he said “Life is not about physical movement. It is equally important to actively engage mentally. Video games helps us in keeping our mind active and also helps in improving reflexes. Along with this, it improves the hand eye coordination also.”

Future Prospects
As the popularity of esports is increasing at a very fast pace among the Indians, the video game companies seem very optimistic about the growth of the industry in India. Talking about the gaming scenario in India Mujahid Rupani, CEO of Cobx, says, “Ranked 17th globally in the gaming sector, the growth of esports in India is expected to be similar to China and international esports companies have already recognised the potential India holds. Estimated to be about around 818 million USD, the gaming industry is growing at 9.2% YoY in India.” Furthermore, he also talked about the plans of the company of providing first-hand experience of an international tournament to its audience.

Manish Agarwal, CEO of Nazara Games, the oldest gaming company in India believes that the advent of technology gave huge impetus to the online gaming industry in India. “By 2020, there will be 30 crore Indian sports fans watching sports online, so we are sure that 33% of them (10 crores) will play fantasy sports, compared to the US where 65% of sports fans play fantasy sports.” he added. 

As the esports industry is witnessing a tremendous growth, Yoozoo Games also plans to launch 3 new games in the next 6 months.

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