Rise of eSports in India – An introduction


India was recently included in the list of regions eligible to participate in FIFA’s Global series…

If you are someone who did not pre-order the Champions/Ultimate edition of FIFA 21, then the doors just opened for you to grab your download and start playing EA Sports’ latest take on football.

Most, if not all, professional eSports gamers in India, however, would have already started playing because it’s important for them to ramp up their level of expertise as soon as possible. This is because eSports has become a competitive field in India.

A quick search will let you know that eSports isn’t a 21st-century phenomenon. The concept of electronic sports, which is a competitive industry for video gaming, began more than 40 years ago. 

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Just like the arrival of high-speed internet connections, eSports also took its own sweet time to touch base in India. While the industry as a whole is still at a nascent stage, the popularity is quickly rising and the country, which was under lockdown for several months due to the Coronavirus pandemic, has only witnessed increased attention to eSports.

And before you begin to wonder, the industry has also a federation named eSports Federation of India (ESFI).

FIFA eSports

According to a report by inc42, eSports audience could reach 17 million by the end of the year and can generate a revenue of around $68 million in the current financial year.

With the lockdown forcing people to sit at home and consume videos and streams a lot more than they would have done in a pre-COVID-19 world, India’s gamers have taken their ‘game’ to the next level with consistent production of good quality content respectively. The increased availability of internet connections has also boosted the participation of gamers from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. 

And Indians have shown that they can make a mark in the field. Esports made its way into the 2018 Asian Games as a demonstration event. Playing the collectible card game Hearthstone, Gujarat-based gamer Tirth Mehta won bronze for India. 

FIFA eSports

As far as professional competitions go, EA recently dropped some wonderful news for Indian gamers when they announced the inclusion of India into the FIFA 21 Global series. While gamers took to social media to express their disappointment on missing out last year, the gaming giants have righted their wrongs this time around.

“We’re very excited to welcome Bolivia, Costa Rica, and India to the EA SPORTS FIFA 21 Global Series! With the addition of India, we’re changing the name of the Middle East & Africa region to West Asia & South Africa, which India will join, and moving a few of the countries that have traditionally played in that region elsewhere.” – EA

The Global Series is a competition organised by the developers of FIFA to find out the best virtual footballers in the world and is a good platform for Indian participants to show their mettle. With FIFA 21 opening the doors for gamers, the eSports industry stands to gain. What next? 



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