The esports sector is on the quest to expand and engage with newer audiences. This has led to a lot of esports organisations in India experimenting with various strategies to reach out to larger audiences which are not just limited to the youth. Naming a few strategies, some stream esports tournaments in regional languages, some host grassroot esports exactly like galli cricket and recently, Nodwin gaming announced that esports will be streamed at the PVR.
In conversation with AnimationXpress, Nodwin gaming co-founder and MD Akshat Rathee shared, “The venture is totally experimental but with enough research.”
Before setting a trend, it is essential to have a better understanding of the market and the consumer behaviour. Thats why to stream in-theatre esports, Nodwin Gaming chose BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA which is one of the most popular games in India currently. Not just that, Rathee is aware that there are chances that in some areas audiences might not participate in it, therefore the campaign of in-theatre esports experience will be limited to selected places and not everywhere in India.
He shares, “The audience does tend to fall back. And that’s why we’re doing it with a fairly small but all-inclusive sample group. If you look at the composition of selected locations, it’s perfectly balanced. A smaller city, a bigger city, a northern state and a southern state: Gurugram, Indore, Mumbai, Hyderabad. The reception of the pilot in these locations will dictate our way forward.”
The concept of watching an esports tournament on a big screen in a theatre is better than catching a live stream alone from home. However, the overall experience can never be like LAN events.
Rathee agreed that esports at the theatre can never fill the gap of LAN event experience and shared, “Yes, the experiences in both cases are totally different. Events give a more tangible experience while theatres are more of a quick and easy entertainment source. Esports is essentially a spectator sport. Not taking away the importance of events, but bringing a more communal watching experience to it.”
With this new initiative, it can be seen that the organisations have started thinking about engaging with audiences of various age groups. As people from various age groups enjoy watching movies in the theatre with family, when they see hoardings or ads about esports in the theatre, their inquisitiveness might lead them to at least try and understand ‘what is esports?’. And that understanding can become the stepping stone for esports to become the mainstream entertainment source.
Also if this experiment becomes successful, then there are high chances that it might set the trend for the Indian esports ecosystem, post which nothing can obstruct the path of esports to become mainstream in the long run.
“It’s definitely one of the ways to mainstream esports in the country. The collaboration with PVR enables access to a wider audience base and has the potential to bring in a lot of new lovers for this entertainment medium,” he added.
At this moment, it is unclear when the next esports LAN event will take place, but with this initiative, it is clear that if in-theatre esports tournament streaming is possible then soon we will get to witness a LAN event.
Till then, get ready to cheer and experience the thrill of watching a match with your friends in PVR theatres near you!