S8UL became the first Indian esports organization to win the highly-coveted Content Group of the Year award in the Esports Awards 2022 on Wednesday.
S8UL’s success has come from understanding what is esports, content, and business ecosystem – and more specifically understanding how to break the rules of that ecosystem. A large chunk of S8UL’s success and growth over the last year or so has come from putting their gaming creators in the spotlight, rather than games and esports itself.
A typical S8UL content piece revolves around their network of more than 50 gaming creators participating in local trends with cultural twists. They’re also not afraid to lean into either Bollywood or India’s very niche meme culture.
This has resulted in them easily tapping into the larger Indian pop culture scene on YouTube, which has a specific user base that they captured – to the tune of 1.03m subscribers at the time of writing. All of this has helped them become the voice of the gaming subculture in India.
S8UL Beat Some Big Names
The Esports Awards 2022 were hosted in Las Vegas, with many of the biggest names in the industry attending the event. S8UL had to beat some esports heavyweights like 100 Thieves, FaZe Clan, OTK, G4TV, and Tribo Gaules to get their hands on the big prize, which makes this achievement even more impressive. The category that S8UL won involved public voting, so it is fair to say that there was a numerical advantage for a team coming from India. However, to garner as much support in the Indian ecosystem which is very young and has no global recognition at all, is a feat in itself.
PUBG Mobile esports player Animesh Agarwal aka 8bit Thug, Naman Mathur aka Soul Mortal, and Lokesh Jain aka 8bit Goldy have joint ownership of S8UL. S8UL was formed only two years ago and quickly became a sensation after some of the finest esports personalities in the country joined hands to form the organization.
S8UL have a boot camp in Mumbai, with India’s best PUBG mobile team under their ranks. They’ve also had some other popular Indian content creators on their roster, like Scout, Mavi, Mamba, and Regaltos.
They are India’s most popular esports organization and have been at the forefront of promoting the industry through various social media channels like YouTube, Instagram, and Discord. Before they clinched the title, they had already made history by being the first Indian esports organization to get nominated for the Esports Awards.
Mortal is considered one of the most recognizable faces in esports in India and understandably emotional following the big news. He has been nominated for Esports Awards in previous years alongside some of the biggest names in the esports industry like Faker and Goldenboy.
“Words fail me as I see our dream as a dream team come true. Seeing us being celebrated by the global esports community, it’s a real feeling. It’s really time to pause, reflect and feel happy,” he said.
What Does This Mean For Indian Esports?
There isn’t as much resistance towards a career in esports in India today. Many great esports players in India have revealed that their families have been highly supportive despite having reservations initially.
The more significant challenge in recent years has been making a name outside India. This is one of the few occasions where an Indian esports organization has been recognized globally. This moment will likely convince many other players that a career within the esports industry is viable.
A 2022 report from FICCI-EY Media stated that the number of esports players doubled in 2021 to 600,000 in 2021, and revenue in the industry grew by 29% from INR 7.5 billion in 2020 to INR 9.7 billion in 2021.
The report added that these numbers will be greater in the coming years. One thing is for certain: S8UL have played a big part in the growth of the esports industry and will continue to do so.