Shivam Rao
Shivam Rao
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Fuelled by faster internet and cheaper devices, esports in India has not only gained popularity among youth and the affluent but consequently, it has also become an attractive option for advertisers.

Inspired by this rapid growth, Shivam Rao, a zealous gamer since childhood, turned his passion into a career in 2019 and co-founded Trinity Gaming - India’s top gaming talent management company.

On similar lines, Rao speaks to FPJ on the potential of the esports industry and his company’s vision.

Excerpts

What has led to the boom of e-sports in India?

It has been a gradual process. But the growth of the sector can be attributed to a couple of major factors.

Firstly, PUBG brought the whole ecosystem together in India as it was a mobile game and its full version was easily accessible. It played a big role in galvanising gamers and influencers. Through PUBG, the entire e-sports community found a common ground.

Also, the gaming scenario 3 years back was the time when the creators started exploring new ideas.

Secondly, The entry of a few heavy private investors and later the global esports giants like Fnatic India has only helped the sector grow.

Best selling point to advertisers

In India, one of our best selling points is the numbers we bring in all sorts of events that we do.

The population is there but ‘issme Jio ka bohot bada haat hai.’

Sponsors, organisers

It is not very difficult to understand. It is almost similar to any other sport. A lot depends on the level of competition.

We have teams in Tier-3, Tier-2, Tier-1 and global champions category. So it depends on what type of invitation tournament we are conducting.

If we are conducting tournaments for top-10 teams, we are expecting a lot of eyeballs in that event. Because that is one of the most entertaining areas in esports. It also depends on how frequently the tournament is being conducted.

Effect of pandemic

Last year was a setback for esports I would say because of the ban on PUBG but overall content creation and entertainment in the gaming grew a lot.

Most popular games in India

When we talk about mobile games I would say PUBG mobile, Free Fire. In computer category, we can consider GTA, Valorant as very popular in both casual gaming and esports scenes. And also there is news of Valorant mobile launching soon.

Target age group

People in India haven’t followed esports since childhood. So the youngsters are more involved in the game than say those who are 35 and above.

How did you start Trinity Gaming?

We were freelancers. Managing a couple of gaming talents. And then we studied the market and saw the kind of potential it has. A lot of our clients were also based internationally. A lot of big payments were happening. So we saw the potential and thought that we need to do this the right way and register a proper company.

Globally, where does India stand in esports?

Globally, we are still very young. In PUBG, we have proven that we produce stronger teams, but if I talk about other tournaments, we are still growing. So in mobile gaming, we are in a very good position. Probably in top-five worldwide. But in terms of other games, we probably don’t come under the top-10 and we have a long way to go.

How much can one player earn?

So basically, when a player is picked up by a team, his base salary starts from somewhere around Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000-40,000. This is for an athlete who hasn’t yet proved himself.

When the player has proven himself, and has performed in multiple tournaments, and has a very good track record, he earns around Rs 80,000 to Rs 2 lakh. He also bags a percentage out of the tournament-winning jackpot.

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