Year in Review: Esports and online gaming industry’s overall growth has been

A large segment of people – who tried little or no hands at all in esports and online games due to their hectic life schedule – found solace in esports and online games. The industry had been witnessing a surge as smartphones started reaching almost every household, but the year 2020 proved to a milestone year for this sector due to obvious reasons.

The industry is getting bigger with every passing month and will continue taking an upward curve in the year 2021. Answering to a questionnaire sent by MyKhel, Mr Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India, narrated at length about the positives from 2020 and the new horizons, the sector is going to touch in the new year.

Here are the excerpts:

My Khel: How has this year been for the online gaming and esports industry in India?

Lokesh Suji: In India, over the course of 2020 with Covid-19 lockdown in place, we saw a boom in digital entertainments and esports is one of them. The ongoing COVID situation has propelled the penetration of esports to more and more people. The esports industry witnessed the highest spike in player participation, watch time & viewership in this year.

MK: Growth of esports during the lockdown?

LS: While business sectors across the world have been virtually brought to a grinding halt by the stay-at-home mandate to prevent the spread of the contagious COVID-19, the esports or electronic sports industry, on the contrary, is on a roll. The current pandemic, for the most part, has shifted the entire esports set-up online. The overall growth of esports industry is phenomenal this year.

MK: What are the plans for the next year and how are you going to achieve the goal?

LS: Esports now been included in Asian Games 2022 and once the game titles are announced, we will start getting our teams ready; last time we got bronze this time we have to get Gold.

Other than this our focus is to expand in coaching and training for which we are already in discussions with some leading agencies. You will also find certified Referees this year which will be India’s first.

We have already rolled out our National Rankings for games like Call of Duty-Mobile, Valorant, Free Fire, we will be adding more games in the new year. ESFI is working closely with other fellow National Esports Federations of South Asia, and will jointly launch South Asia Championship, which will give our athletes international exposure also. We will be working more closely with the game publishers and developers as they are the key to our esports.

MK: How government’s/court’s latest guidelines on online gaming will impact the industry?

LS: Though as esports, we don’t have any relation with egaming/igaming, since Niti Ayog has rolled out a draft, the discussion on regulation and guidelines should be focused on both fantasy sports and real money gaming (all the aspects of egaming/igaming). The framework of rules &…

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