According to International Data Corporation, global video game revenue is expected to surge 20 per cent to $179.7 billion this year, making gaming bigger than film and North American sports industries combined. But in India, where it’s not just fun and games but also an active career choice and a way out of obscurity, 2020 was the year of lost momentum.
The burgeoning esports industry was expected to continue riding the PUBG phenomenon, and Indian professional gamers were set to jostle with the traditional heavyweights from East and Southeast Asia. But a quick one-two to the gut — in the form of the Coronavirus and PUBG ban — left many reeling.
“For Indian esports, the first stage of development was going on. But everything has been washed out by this year,” says Lokesh ‘Goldy’ Jain, owner of Team 8Bit gaming organisation. “Firstly, the pandemic wiped out the LAN (on-site) events. These offline events are a huge boost in terms of sponsors, commercial viability, and media coverage. It’s a lot of exposure for everybody involved at LAN events. There were 30-35 such events planned but everything had to be cancelled.”