The world has changed since March 2020, the global pandemic has frightened everyone to stay at home, however, one thing that has helped everyone to refresh is obviously GAMING. Yes, the gaming industry has exploded after the worldwide lockdowns were made and people are comfortable these days to not only work from home but also play games at their own comfort.
So, this has increased the number of players in the gaming industry, whose projected revenue is likely to increase over time. Now, only a man from the gaming industry will only be able to tell how the market has evolved in a country like India, and this is the reason why we interviewed Mr. Gautam Virk from NODWIN Gaming, India’s largest esports company, who gave us some insights & his views on the eSports gaming industry in India.
In an exclusive interview with TechnoSports, Mr. Gautam Virk, Co-Founder & COO, NODWIN Gaming has spoken about the eSports industry in India, its growth, challenges faced in the pandemic, its evolution & talked about its future in the country
We asked a series of questions, which Mr. Gautam did answer sportingly:
How has NODWIN Gaming changed the gaming industry?
- Made eSports available to the masses
- Penetrated rural India
- Turned esports into a spectator sport in India
- Introduced broadcast innovations
- Creation of new IPs to cater to a wider audience with diverse game titles
- Contributed largely to the 200% YoY increase in prize pool given out in India in2019-20
- Provided a platform for the growth of new talents
How do you see how this pandemic benefited to the gaming industry?
Living in the changes depending on the question kind of like receive its answers itself because of the fact that people over stuck at home. We don’t be spending a lot more time at home and they’re playing games.
We need to take and I believe becomes anymore, you know open doors. They will spend the time that you want to spend, you know, doing your favorite activity with this playing game or whether it be not casual games or whether it be a competitive game. My family is, you know more acceptable to the fact that it comes with. Okay, the other stuff body doesn’t lie about that. They understand now, even I feel the fact that the three maybe three hours my wife has never complained that we know that you’re spending too much time playing games.
Yeah, obviously people have more time to spend on gaming in India, so as an eSports organizer how do you see the market growing in next few years?
We are growing exponentially and this I would say that the cost of data in India being the cheapest, you know, mobile internet, you know, you can get the mobile internet the cheapest in the world, right? It’s not even like this again. Not the third or the second but the number one, India has the cheapest mobile data.
You step out of the country. Every other place will be more expensive than India and this was one of the biggest reasons why the boom actually started even at the end of 2018 and 2019 when we saw the big rush coming in.
Until now streaming games was not a profession and now it is thanks to platforms like YouTube
Yes, the availability of content started, now because you brought up YouTube started reaching to the tier 2 and tier 3 cities, slowly the Hindi-speaking guys became more popular. Now if you want to do anything on YouTube preference is on the Hindi language only, now the majority in the country has a Hindi speaking audience, currently, the gates have opened up to tier 2 and tier 3 city audiences sitting their homes.
How NODWIN Gaming has used technology to bring a revolution in the gaming segment?
- Extensive use of AR to enhance the viewing experience
- Use of AI in Anti-cheats, live scoring, etc
- Implemented remote broadcast in the time of the lockdown
- Engaging broadcast segments like player and fan interaction interviews conducted remotely
So, you would reckon the fact that the huge popularity of smartphones has helped shape up the gaming industry
Cheap data has helped more people get access to popular games. I remember it used to be that the PUBG game was impossible to download when it was 1 GB. Now people don’t mind downloading large games, people don’t mind spending time playing games because the data is not very costly these days. This is the 2019 discussion, by 2020 the lockdowns have happened, people are sitting at home. Some people have more time at that, right? Not that they still spending eight hours after whatever they do we work from home.
Also, people have more time to not only play people have more time to watch as well. So the number is you know broken records as well, 500K people were watching PUBG Mobile alone, I think that was in Hindi, 15 teams were playing among them 5/6 were of India and the team by the name of Orange Rock came second in the tournament right behind the team from Thailand.
It’s because of the pandemic at the end of the day, people are staying at home and there is no sport happening. There’s no Cricket happening, no badminton happening, but guess what eSports is running because it’s a sport that runs in a virtual stadium and that stadium is a server that you know, hosted somewhere and people can connect to it remotely.
Goods and Bads about the pandemic on the eSports gaming industry
- Achieved the highest viewership – 1.5 to 2 million views per stream every day
- Watch time increased by more than 350% on OTT platforms
- Everything online meant less hassle
- 1866% increase in participation (ESLIP Summer)
- No LAN events – no cheering crowd
- Remote operations meant prioritizing monitoring of work all the time
- Online conversation is poles apart from a face-to-face conversation – risks of miscommunication
How has your ongoing competitions like Valorant tournament been going & what do you plan next?
As you already know, we have already announced we are in the middle of running those tournaments and I believe we are in the second stage. We are very happy with the report that we got from the audience that we got from the launch of the tournament. From the very first live stream of the tournament, the response was massive from the people and this really made us feel that we are getting a lot of growth via mobile streaming as well.
Because you know people have generally, you know, starting to watch more and more games, the mobile gamers are not just strictly watching mobile games because of the access to the Internet and mobile phones now, they can watch PC games as well and PC gaming viewership is also going up thanks to mobile gaming and Valorant, in that case, is doing very. A number of teams are also playing Valorant, mobile gamers are also playing along with PC Gamers as well.
And there are popular games like Counter-Strike and Grand Theft Auto people are loving, the Indian audience will continue to grow and we will continue to support them. So Valorant is a great example for us, as this is a new game coming in right? There is no ecosystem in the country, but NODWIN is in place to kick-start the ecosystem and it’s not just one of the events. It’s a proper four qualifiers to a finale with a huge sum of prize money.
If it does well, we will add it to our National Championship and being added to it means that for 10 months a year there will be Valorant tournaments, they do not have to be standalone anymore, being part ESL India Premiership, powered by NODWIN Gaming that’s what we call the national championship. So it should replenish itself for almost 10 months a year then, and it continues to support the game for most of the year and you broadcast on Hotstar or Youtube.
People are concerned about PUBG Mobile’s ban, what’s your take on it and on the new FAU-G game?
A large section of professional gamers is affected by the ban but as an organizer, it’s not our place to comment on the subject as two parties involved are the government and the publisher. We respect whatever decision best suits the country.
How do you see PM’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat plans incorporated in the eSports gaming market?
FAU-G as a part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat is too early to comment upon, as we need to see how the game is in the first place and how it will contribute to the eSports circuit.
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