The Covid-19 pandemic has opened various streams for gaming and esports business. Bengaluru based EWar Games which stepped into the gaming business early this year seems to have done quite well amid the COVID-19 pandemic. When India was under nationwide lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic and people started spending more time in gaming EWar Games have raised $200,000 of equity funding from Jindal Steels, a Karnataka-based steel company, and Gameplan founder Jeet Banerjee, a Kolkata-based sports management firm and has utilised it to optimise the quality and their user experience of its product (a mobile app), and to strengthen its marketing and brand promotion efforts. Soon after they started witnessing 3X month-on-month growth on their platform.
EWar founded by Parth Chadha and Rahul Singh is a vernacular esports platform where a gamer can play, watch and earn from casual games or in games like PUBG, FreeFire, COD, Clash Royal, and more. They have a variety of participation models including 1vs1, squad contests, and tournaments and have facilities of watching live streams and interacting with streamers. Without denying the fact that COVID -19 pandemic literally skyrocketed their business E-War Games founder and CEO Chadha told Animationxpress that, “the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of the platform. With its inception in January, EWar acquired the majority of its users during the lockdown period in the country, reaching almost a million gamers. EWar is keeping the engagement alive while people stay indoors.”
Giving the picture of the gaming scene and Covid19 he shares that the impact of pandemic’s lockdown has been quite positive for the Indian gaming industry. He adds, “The COVID-19 pandemic has just set the stage for Esports to come in and it is going to get much bigger than this. Esports is emerging in the same way as e-commerce did in the last couple of years in India. It’s all in front of you, more people are turning to gaming, more professions are being created as a result, more investments are flowing into the ecosystem simultaneously. All of this will eventually make the industry bigger and interesting. What would have happened two years later is happening now. There has been a spike in real money gaming as it has turned out to be a source of income for many. Another development that I witnessed is that a good number of millennials have taken up gaming as a career option as it is futuristic and the industry can never hit rock bottom.”
According to him, Indian esports market is favourable right now in terms of investments and investors. We were curious to know what exactly is driving investment? He replies “esports is expected to grow at 41 per cent annually due to the growth of digital infrastructure and the substantial rise in quality and engaging gaming content. Large market size, effective business models, and innovation are the key factors driving investments in this industry.
When figuring out the right move in business, Esports tournaments are skyrocketing during the f pandemic phase and cashing that opportunity and being the new entrant in the industry, EWar is currently undergoing “Mahayudh” (Big Battle) tournament series. Right now EWar PUBG Mahayudh Season1 phase3 is going on, “where top 10 underdog teams, which emerged from a pool of 5000 teams, are facing the top 10 elite teams in the country. The “Mahayudh” series will continue for other games as well.”
When platform targets the audience of tier 3 and beyond, automatically tier 1 and tier 2 audience become add on. Scoring on the regional content creation EWar has been vernacular since its inception. He adds “It has been running in eight native languages and producing content, tournaments in those languages to capture and connect more audience and penetrate deeper into the markets in India. Being multilingual is definitely the way forward.”
According to him, today brands are finding gaming and esports industry as an approach to connect with their target audience. He asserts, “All major brands are turning to gaming for marketing and partnerships and this, in turn, will definitely promote sports in India.” For example: EWar PuBg Mahayudh phase3 is sponsored by POCO which recently launched their flagship phone POCO M2 pro with EWar as their launch stream partner. This brand sponsorship in esports tournaments has become a profitable initiative as brands get to connect with the audience in a profound way.
The brand however denied sharing their future plans (on launching any team, merchandise, shows, roping in celebrity brand ambassadors, and so on) but hinted that they are planning on progress and are expanding across verticals in the space. As investments flow in, higher competition, endorsements by legendary players, more stakeholders, technology solutions, and more the future of Indian esports is looking brighter. And he hinted that, “We will soon be seeing the Tendulkars and Virats of Esports in India.”