Playing to Win: The Lucrative Rise of Esports in India

The Indian esports industry has experienced remarkable growth, transforming gaming from a hobby into a lucrative career. The HP India Gaming Landscape Study 2023, which surveyed 3,000 gamers across 15 Indian cities, reveals that nearly half of serious gamers earned between 6 to 12 lakh rupees per annum in 2023​​​​. This surge in earnings is attributed to the expanding esports sector, offering diverse career opportunities, including sponsorships and esports tournaments, which have become significant income sources​​​​.

Gaming in India is now widespread beyond metropolitan areas, engaging a wide demographic. Approximately 75% of GenZ and 67% of Millennials, as well as 58% of women, are identified as serious gamers. This demographic shift underscores the inclusive nature of gaming. Moreover, one in three gamers participates in gaming activities for monetary gains or recognition​​​​.

The Indian esports scene is buoyed by the introduction of esports leagues and tournaments. For instance, Sky Esports announced India’s first franchise-based esports league for CS:GO, named “Sky Esports Masters,” with a prize pool of INR 2 Crore. This development paves the way for Indian gamers to compete on a global stage​​​​.

The recognition of esports as a legitimate sport by the Indian Government has been a significant catalyst for the industry’s growth. The President of India, Droupadi Murmu, in a notification to the Cabinet Secretariat in 2022, included esports as a part of “multi-sports events” under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Additionally, the AVGC Promotion Task Force has submitted a report highlighting the challenges, opportunities, and recommended steps for the Government of India to foster the industry​​.

Interestingly, the study also notes a shift in parental perception of gaming. About 42% of parents approve of gaming as a hobby, and 40% have reported a positive change in their view of gaming in recent years, mainly due to the industry’s growth​​​​.

Furthermore, HP has launched the ‘HP Gaming Garage’, a free online professional certificate program on esports management and game development, available in 12 languages including English, Hindi, and Telugu. This initiative aims to provide gaming enthusiasts in India with access to educational resources in esports management, game design, and programming​​.

The overall scenario indicates a promising future for Indian esports, with increased earnings, wider participation, government support, and educational initiatives bolstering the industry’s growth and viability as a career option.



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