Esports to become the largest segment in Nazara Technologies’ portfolio

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Gaming conglomerate Nazara Technologies is bullish about the esports segment and is positive that it will continue to be on an upward trajectory in the second half of the financial year. Esports makes up 40 percent of the overall business of Nazara Technologies and has witnessed 62 percent growth in revenues in the first half of FY22.

Nazara’s Esports Segment

The business of this segment also superseded the earning of gamified early learning: their largest segment which contributes 41 percent and grew at 35 percent in revenue during the same period.

“Esports is expected to be a larger segment than gamified in the second half. Plus, the acquisitions have happened including OML and Publishme, which will further accelerate the growth of this segment. Esports will become the largest segment in our portfolio,” Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Technologies, told Moneycontrol.

Nazara’s subsidiary Nodwin Gaming saw 30 percent increase in revenue in the esports segment in H1 FY22. Making new strides, Nodwin, also recently acquired the gaming and adjacent IP (intellectual property) business of OML Entertainment, a media and entertainment company. According to Agarwal, this is only set to give fillip to the esports segment.

“The esports entertainment format will be dominant in the 14-30 age group and to increase penetration we partnered with music, comedy IP (OML) that has an affinity with this age group, and the intersection of this age group with esports is very high. So, having access to such IP now being able to drive esports is important. The YouTubers and the short video creators are driving esports. Hence, to grow esports, creators are key,” he said to

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Acquisition of OML

The acquisition of OML Entertainment is a strategic move as the company is famous for managing some of India’s biggest gaming and entertainment creators including Tanmay Bhat, Samay Raina, Suhani Shah, among others.

Apart from that, they also own IPs like the BACARDÍ NH7 Weekender, comedy touring properties like LOLstars and Headliners and hiphop league called Breezer Vivid Shuffle.

With the help of OML, Nodwin is planning to create numerous esports IPs that will help evangelise the esports segment.

Esports Statistics & Figures

Esports sector is witnessing a phenomenal growth rate over the past year. According to a 2021 report by EY on esports in India, there will be 1.5 million players, 85 million viewers and over 20 broadcasters in the country’s esports market by FY25. Overall, the esports industry is expected to grow over fourfold to Rs 1,100 crore by FY25, from Rs 250 crore in FY21, the report added.

Another report by Redseer, esports and streaming pegs the growth rate of this booming segment at 40 percent for next five years in India. As of now, Esports packs 17 million viewers in India across multiple streaming platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Twitch and other OTT platforms, which is expected to reach 25 million by FY22.

The Hindi-language broadcast of PUBG Mobile World League East 2020 had set a milestone by attracting 449 thousand peak viewers; highest viewership in esports tournament so far. Not just gamers, streaming platforms are also expected to rake in the largest chunk of esport revenues as the segment grows popular among youth. An audience that big in number is bound to attract advertisers and brands who would like to cash in on the popularity.


Karnataka Police Amendment Bill and its implications

There have been concerns regarding the ban on online gaming in Karnataka after the State Assembly passed the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which bans online gambling and betting. Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) said that while the regulation is clear, people are interpreting it the wrong way and this is the challenge the esports industry is facing.

“Karnataka ban is for any sort of wagering or betting or gambling and also playing fantasy, Teen Patti, rummy, poker. Online gaming is not esports as it is both online and offline. Hence, it should not be confused with online gaming. These regulations don’t apply to esports,” he clarified.

Explaining how esports is far different from online gaming, Suji clarified that most of the game developers of esports game titles don’t allow people to charge any sort of entry/registrations fee for any tournaments.

“All the esports platforms follow those guidelines already hence, there should not be any impact on the esports platforms. Esports is a sport and should be looked upon the same way, hence there should not any concerns for our esports community in Karnataka,” Suji concluded.