NEW DELHI : Mohan Doss, co-founder of Chennai Games, is delighted that his mobile racing game Mr. runner will soon have an electronic sports mode (eSports) that will allow players to participate and organize tournaments.
The Tamil Nadu-based game developer is one of the early adopters of the unicorn games startup Mobile Premier League (MPL) software development kit (SDK) that was released last month for all developers of mobile games.
Chennai Games is just one example. In the wake of the post-pandemic boom, a growing number of game companies in India are pivoting or rethinking their games to incorporate eSports, once dismissed as an industry with no future in India.
Rajendran PR, co-founder and CEO of Nextwave Multimedia, developer and publisher of Cricket World Championship 3 (WCC3), hosted a few smaller tournaments on a proprietary eSports mode earlier this year, followed by a larger tournament sponsored by energy drink maker Red Bull.
Rajendran said that once he saw player interest, Nextwave extended this mod and created more tools to attract the big tournament operators. These tools not only allow more players to compete against each other, but also allow them to change camera angles in real time, while streaming a match.
Nextwave now plans to leverage MPL’s eSports SDK.
“MPL’s eSports SDK is in the final stages of production and testing. There are certain eSports related customizations that we wanted in our game and the SDK allows that. It was also an opportunity to work alongside a great player and create more tournament opportunities for our fans. We believe this will help us increase our audience, ”he said.
India’s gaming industry generates $ 1.5 billion in revenue, which is expected to triple by 2025, according to a Nov. 25 report from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Mobile games represent 86% of the Indian gaming market, the report notes. And with games like PUBG Mobile etc. accumulating rupee crores in the form of tournament prizes, interest in eSports is also increasing.
Granted, much of the eSports action right now revolves around a handful of international imports, such as battle royale games. PUBG and Garena Free Fire.
MPL’s eSports SDK and other similar offerings seek to change that. Moreover, Indian gamers do not indulge much in large format PC games like Defense of the Ancients.
But the industry is big enough that big-ticket eSports teams around the world, like Team SoloMind (better known as TSM) and Fnatic, are setting up India-specific teams to recruit local players and participate in regional tournaments.
In a June blog post, Ashish Pherwani, Partner, Media and Entertainment Consulting Services, EY India, wrote that the eSports market in India “has grown rapidly” to ??3 billion in fiscal year 21 and is expected to reach ??11 billion by FY25. “However, sport has a much larger economic impact: we expect it to generate an economic value of around ??100 billion by the year 2025 ”, he added. BCG also noted that eSports is in its infancy, but has pegged its value at $ 100 million and growing rapidly.
“With mobile gaming continuing to develop and grow rapidly, we see a huge opportunity for mobile eSports and what it offers to developers and gamers. We have spotted a gap in the tools available today to organize large-scale mobile eSports, ”said Vibhav Viswanathan, vice president of product development at MPL.
In games, eSports drive engagement, and higher engagement leads to higher retention and conversion. It also increases the lifespan of games, as a competitive tournament can last 5-10 years, which keeps players interested in a game for a long time, even if a new version is not created quickly.
Availability of eSports in casual but popular games like COE3 Also lowers the barrier of entry and encourages more casual gamers to participate in eSports. “Usually eSports tournaments are run by dedicated tournament operators and they are invitation-only in most cases. Much of the users who want to compete in eSports are left out. We wanted to allow anyone to organize and participate in small tournaments, ”added Rajendran.
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