2021 will be a game-changer year for esports industry: Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India

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Mr Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India is elated with the progress made by the industry that was neglected in India. While responding to a questionnaire from MyKhel, Mr Suji said, “The Year 2020 came in very hard on all of us, but brought out new perspective to our day-to-day functioning both on professional and personal fronts. A lot of us skilled ourselves realized that a lot of materialist things are actually not required (we can still live without eating burgers or wasting money in unnecessary shopping etc.) and how we can still work efficiently and deliver working from our homes. It also helped us realise how important it is to support and grow the economy which is “Made in India” #AatmaNirbharBharat.”

Talking about the rapid strides the esports and video gaming industry made in the year 2020 he highlighted the immense potential this sector has to make India a global esports giant in the years to come.

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Mr Lokesh Suji

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Mr Suji added further, “Last year also helped the esports & video games industry get its due which was long pending, it would not be wrong to say that this sport and industry was neglected. Please don’t confuse fantasy, ‘teen patti’, rummy, online gaming, poker, betting, gambling with esports (we are talking about video games like FIFA, F1 racing, Clash Royale, League of Legends, Hearthstone etc.), esports is a sport recognized by International Olympic Committee (IOC) & Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), we won a bronze medal in Asian Games’18 where esports was a demonstration event and it has been included as a medal sport in Asian Indoor & Martial Art Game’21 and Asian Games 2022. It’s the next generation sport.”

Let’s dwell more on the focus areas for 2021 from an esports perspective:

1. Content Creation for Video Games/esports: Gaming content, being one of the most consumed types of online content, has given many people the opportunity and motivation to build a technical career in this space. Gaming content producers draw massively wide audiences, allowing a broad variety of target markets to be targeted by endemic and non-endemic brands. Immersive content, diversity and multicultural culture provide brands with great opportunities to draw the interest of an enthusiastic and influential public.

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2. Esports the next Social Media: Several industries have been revolutionized by esports’ rapid development around the world, including the area of social media. The community essence of esports has seen social media platforms as a significant aspect in which sports fans gather online and experience the excitement in competition. In video games, sites such as Discord, live streams, esports platforms, socialize. These video games have inbuilt capabilities where other players can make text and voice calls.

3. Invest in Esports: With an increase in demand for competitive games, gaming companies are making substantial investments towards developing the esports ecosystem in India. I think esports will compete in terms of potential prospects with the largest conventional sports leagues, and there are immense growth areas for this emerging industry between advertisement, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising.

4. Video Games based on Indian ethos and esports capabilities: As shared the Indian Video games industry was neglected over the years and practically zero investments where made in Indian game development studios unlike countries like the US, China, and as a result, we all are today playing games developed by foreign companies.

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India is the oldest civilization, a country with vast culture and ethos and we should be Extremely Proud of that, so why not build video games based on Indian mythology, local sports, why FIFA or F1 why not ‘gully danda’ or ‘dahi handi’ or Kalaripayattu or multiplayer games based on Chandragupta Maurya etc.; today is the time when our young generation should be playing video games based on our ethos, it will not only help in keeping the rich heritage alive but also connect our young generation to the roots of our magnificent history; gamification has been a very successful way of learning. We already have some games like Raji, FAU-G being rolled out.

5. Esports tech: Streaming, AI, Tournament platforms: Today, technology itself is changing at a fervent pace. All we need to do is keep up with it and adapt to the changes it brings as quickly as possible. I assume that with improved products and experiences, technology can continue to surprise the gaming world. We need to be prepared and ready for technology’s dynamic evolution.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): It allows professional players and teams to optimize their gaming efficiency by supplying them with resources that humans alone would not usually be able to do. Thousands of esports matches can be watched and analyzed by these AI-powered systems and then retrieved data can be used to assess how players can improve.

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Streaming: Streaming video games is one of the key areas in esports that allows fans to get closer to the action, and to make some extra income for pro gamers and entertainers. Streaming is where someone can record or show their game by broadcasting it live over the internet through streaming platforms. Streamers can add custom graphics to their stream interact via a chat room with viewers, try to educate the viewers and entertain them. Though YouTube, Facebook lead here, we have local platforms like Rheo, Loco, Turnip who are picking up the race.

Tournament Platforms: The competition is the core of esports and that’s where esports tournament platforms play the role, be it registration, brackets, scheduling, communications etc., automation is required and this will boost the esports ecosystem. There are currently thousands of daily regular esports tournaments being run in India but on Google forms, WhatsApp etc., all this will get structured with these tournament platforms like Gamerji, Ultimate Battle, Ustreak (which is a self-service platform to host and play in video games competitions and is even integrated with Discord). To conclude, the year 2021 will be a game-changer year for the esports and video games industry and you should get involved, after all, that’s where the Millennials are and they are your target audience.

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