Industry leaders recap growth of online gaming and esports in 2021

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When COVID-19 brought traditional sports events in India to a grinding halt, the esports & gaming industry came to rescue people from the blues and offered virtual entertainment. The spike in online gaming majorly can be attributed to the rise in the young population, increased use of smartphones, easy availability and accessibility of technology and the internet, rising investment by capitalists, and appropriate distribution network. Publishers like Garena, Riot, Krafton, etc are actively involved in investing and growing Esports in India. Here’s how the year fared for platforms, organizations and brands and their upcoming plans for the year 2022:

For Vishwalok Nath who is the Director of World Esports Cup the year 2021 has been exceptional for India Today Gaming (ITG) as the team launched two of its largest tournaments on the international stage. “This includes Esports Premier League (ESPL) and World Esports Cup (WEC). ESPL is the worlds’ first franchise-based Free Fire tournament, and WEC is the first Free Fire tournament between India, Pakistan, and Nepal from ITG. We are ecstatic by the level of support and love that the Indian Free Fire community has showered on us. This support is evident as ESPL crossed 1 million registrations in its first edition. Besides, the 3.5 month-long tournaments also amassed more than 100 million video views. Following the success of ESPL, the ongoing WEC Free Fire tournament has also crossed the 1.25 million as the total player registrations,” he shares.

As part of the execution, ITG put its best foot forward in bringing gaming and esports to the mainstream. This includes signing Bollywood superstar Tiger Shroff as the brand ambassador for both ESPL as well as WEC. He further informs, “We also pushed the industry to a new level of acceptance when multiple state/city ministers endorsed gaming and esports while unveiling their respective ESPL franchise teams. Though we are still a few weeks away from the closure of 2021, we are extremely grateful and proud of our work, dedication, and success”

Shedding light on their future plans, he shares, “In 2022, we will reset the clock and focus on the second editions of ESPL and WEC with a new set of benchmarks. The team is excited to push onward in its journey to help push gaming and esports to the mainstream with the planned expansion of both the flagship tournaments. Though it is too early to comment, we plan to make ESPL a bigger affair with a more diverse set of titles and maybe even the platforms. When it comes to WEC, we will plan to look forward to including even more countries along with more options for competitive titles.”

Mr Abhishek Aggarwal, Co-Founder & CEO, Trinity Gaming shares that things were uncertain at the outset but they sailed through it smoothly. He shared, “Things were uncertain for sure, at least towards the beginning of the year. However, I would say we rather sailed through it pretty smoothly. I am glad that we have a strong team and even though challenges were there, together we made everything possible and simple. Trinity Gaming continued to support the talents while associating them with brands like Truke, CellBell, Coca-Cola, etc. enabling them to monetize.”

Outlining their plans for the year 2022, he shared, “We aim to bring more diverse talents under the Trinity Gaming banner. We are constantly doing R&D, identifying talents, even penetrating Tier II, Tier III locations, and beyond. We are even exploring the vernacular content creators as that still demands more attention and has high potential. Creators who have great command in vernacular languages and can stream in native language making their content more relatable to a classified section of the population is a great format to explore. We are on a mission to build a stronger esports community by supporting these talents. We want our creators to monetize through their passion for esports.”

Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) believes the year 2021 laid down a decent foundation for the future of the Indian Video Games and the esports industry and 2021 can be called the “inflection point of Indian Video Games; Esports Industry”.

He furthers shared, “For Esports Federation of India (ESFI) our key focus is to ensure that we identify the best of the talent to represent India at Asian Games 2022 (scheduled in the month of Sept 2022 in Hangzhou, China), which have 8 esports game titles to compete for and this time esports is a medal sport. We are already in the finalization stage with a lot of brands who have shown interest to partner up with ESFI for this prestigious event and for the glory of the country.”

Anish Kapoor, CEO, Infinix Mobile also feels 2021 has been a great year for them. He shares, “2021 has been a great year for Infiinix with an overwhelming response from our customers on all our products. We did not only launch 7 outstanding smartphone devices which were tagged best in the segment for their features but also officially embarked on our journey to become the best budget gaming smartphones company in India. I am proud to say that we have led the revolution of the mobile gaming industry with the launch of our indigenous DAR-LINK game boost technology which enables users to have a seamless gaming experience on their mobile devices. Since the launch, all our devices like Infinix Hot 10S, Note 10, Note 10 Pro, Hot 11S, and Hot 10 Play sport this technology”. 

Infinix Mobile, he informs had a successful launch of the Inifinix X1 40-inch smart TV which even surpassed our expectations and is one of the highest-rated smart TV on Flipkart, in its segment. “The upcoming launch of INBook X1 will add another feather to our hat as it is going to be our first-ever laptop in India. There has already been a lot of excitement around the laptop since its announcement and we are looking forward to a positive response from our customers on this combination of powerful and portable laptops, which will also be the lightest in its price category,” he adds.

Laying down the plans for the year 2022, he shares, “A good closure of 2021 has filled our teams with high morale and enthusiasm. We have an even strong pipeline for 2022 where we are planning to launch at least one product every month. As smartphones are our primary focus, we will be coming up with our first 5G smartphone next year. We are closely watching the growing gaming ecosystem and our teams are also working towards making more efficient and powerful gaming smartphones for our customers.”

“Every year we grow stronger and bigger. Continuing that trend, we will be investing in new markets and expanding our product line, next year,” he concludes.