The esports industry in India is expected to grow four folds to Rs 1,100 crore by 2025, a report by consultancy firm EY said on Monday.
The current size of the Indian esports industry, also know as electronic sports, is Rs 250 crore and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46 per cent in the next four years.
Unlike online gaming, esports is defined as online games of skill that are played in tournaments where different teams or individual players compete against each other to win the championship, league or title like physical sports.
This is growing faster in the country than the global e-sports industry and the number of players is expected to reach 1.5 million and 250,000 teams by 2025.
"The industry is expected to grow at 46 per cent CAGR to grow over four-fold from Rs 250 crore in 2021 to Rs 1,100 crore by 2025," said the report titled 'Ready. Set. Game ON!' The prize money pool in India is expected to grow at 66 per cent CAGR and may reach Rs 100 crore during the period, it added.
As the Indian esports industry rises at a faster pace than the global esports industry, India is picking up the pace in growing its prize pool as well.
"The Indian esports prize pool accounts for a meagre 0.6 per cent of the global prize pool but is expected to reach almost 2 per cent by 2025. Growth in the prize pool remains one of the most important factors and incentives for attracting new serious players," the report said.
With increase in the number of esports tournaments catering to a growing audience and gamer base, advertisers and agencies are expected to leverage esports tournament viewership to gain reach and engagement with the audience.
"Streaming ad revenue is expected to quadruple to Rs 650 crore by 2025 generating the largest portion of esports revenues. Tournament sponsorship and syndication revenue is expected to grow at 45 per cent CAGR to reach Rs 350 crore by 2025," it said.
EY India Partner and Media & Entertainment Leader Ashish Pherwani said:"Esports in India tells a great growth story. As a game of skill accessible indoors and on the ubiquitous mobile phone, it has gained popularity during lockdowns witnessed in 2020 and 2021. Consequently, it has become an attractive option for brands to connect with young and empowered audiences." It is estimated that India currently has 150,000 players and around 60,000 teams.
"As esports becomes a viable profession for the youth, the number of players playing esports is expected to grow at 78 per cent CAGR by 2025 to reach 1.5 million players and 250,000 teams," it said.
The growth will be propelled by the increase in prize money, more games, localisation, regional adaptation and growth of smartphone, laptop and broadband infrastructure, it added.
In contrast to the west, mobile phones are the preferred choice of device for esports in India with over 90 per cent players participating in mobile esports tournaments.
"Esports creates an opportunity to build India's soft power globally as large-scale organizers such as Asian games and the South Asian Games have added esports in their list of official competitions," it said.
Olympics too is evaluating adding esports to their competitions. In the 18th Asian Games held in 2018, nine Indian esports players participated and one of them won a bronze medal.