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Experts Bat For Solid Grassroot Infrastructre At CII’s Esports Conference 2022

The conference organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) saw participation from top federations, gamers, and experts

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For India to become an Esports nation, the game needs to be recognised as a sport in the general public's minds and built from the ground up through a solid grassroots training structure in the country,  said experts, and gamers during a day-long conference titled Esports Conference 2022, ‘Rise of Esports – The Emerging Frontier’ organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)

At the conference, The International Esports Federation (IESF), a union of 130 plus national federations, referred to esports as one of the most “dynamic sports.”  Currently, over 60 federations in the union are recognized by their respective Sports Ministries or by their National Olympics Committees.

“Esports needs skill, practice, dedication, and support. It is important to recognize esports as a sport because it is a game of the future that is being played by more than half of the world. The International gaming business last year was worth USD 170 billion and is by far the biggest industry on earth, bigger than movies, music, and all traditional sports even combined,” Vlad Marinescu, President of IESF said in his address.

Esports Federation of India (ESFI) who are also members of the IESF also spoke about efforts being made to recognize esports as sports in India.

“Recently, we (ESFI) also had the opportunity to meet the minister MEITY along with the online gaming industry and ESFI was able to put forward a prospect of esports as a sport and how it should be regulated as a sport. With so much support, sooner or later India is destined to become an esports powerhouse driven by cheap data and smartphone penetration”, said Vinod Tiwari, President of Esports Federation of India and Director, International & NOC relations, Olympic Council of Asia.

Echoing similar thoughts, Asian Games bronze medallist Tirth Mehta and one of India’s veteran esports players and content creators, Animesh ‘8bit Thug’ Agarwal, Founder & CEO of 8-bit Creatives, also emphasized the importance of building awareness around career opportunities in esports.

“Esports/Competitive Video Gaming is a versatile industry and there is a huge scope for professional gamers as well as for other peripheral jobs like casters, commentators, and other support staffs appointed by various esports tournaments," added Animesh.

Darren Kwan, President of the Australian Esports Federation, while addressing the session on ‘Esports- A Global Perspective’ highlighted how grassroots development has helped Australia to become a hotbed for esports economy and how India could replicate the same.

"For developing the grassroots ecosystem, we focused on player communities and high school clubs. We have educated high school kids about the difference between playing for leisure and participating in competitive esports tournaments, we have made sure to communicate the importance of being focused on their studies and other demands while finding quality time for playing esports. About 70 percent of the professional gamers are University Students and we actually cross-pollinate. Today, esports and gaming is massively popular in Australia and has been the absolute driver as Australians spend over 3 billion dollars a year in video games alone,” Kwan said.

Esports has turned into a billion-dollar industry with close to 550 million loyal esports fans and the numbers continue to grow with every passing day.

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