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National Video Games Day: Indian Esports evolving from a pastime hobby to eyeing Asian Games medal for the country

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Since its modest beginnings in the 1950s, when basic games and simulations were played on minicomputers and mainframes, the video game industry has undergone tremendous growth. Today, the Indian Esports industry flourishes as a multi-billion-dollar sector, thanks to advancements in high-speed internet, improved technology, the increasing popularity of gaming among the younger generation, and official recognition as a multi-sport event from the government of India. 

According to the recent “Windows of Opportunity” report on India’s Media and Entertainment industry by FICCI-EY, the number of Esports players across all competitive level games in India increased from 600,000 in 2021 to 1 million in 2022, and is expected to reach 2.5 million in 2023.

From winning the bronze in Hearthstone at the 2018 Asian Games to clinching bronze in DOTA 2 at the inaugural Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year, the prowess of Indian Esports has been highlighted multiple times in major international tournaments.

Now, India is not only sending its first-ever female contingent in CS:GO at the World Esports Championships but is also set to participate in the upcoming Asian Games 2022 where Esports is debuting as an official medal sport. As per the FICCI-EY report, the number of international Esports teams in India grew from 6 in 2021 to 7 in 2022 and is expected to rise to 10 in 2023. 

Mr. Lokesh Suji, Director of Esports Federation of India (ESFI) & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) is confident that by supporting and nurturing the Esports ecosystem, India will continue to make its mark on the global Esports stage. “What started with competitive gaming that was only visible in college fests or local tournaments in the late 2000s is now a Rs 250-crore industry. While we have witnessed significant growth and improvement in recent years, winning medals at prestigious events has demonstrated our potential to compete at the highest level and is a testament to the rise of India as a video-gaming powerhouse,” he says.

The rise of gamers and gaming content creators in the country has transformed the entertainment landscape. Many gamers have built large fan bases and have become influential figures within the gaming community through live streaming, video content creation, and social media platforms.

Recognizing the potential of these content creators, brands have started to forge partnerships with them through brand deals and sponsorships which has not only opened up new revenue streams for creators but has also contributed to the entry of non-endemic brands in the sector. This is further supported by the findings of the FICCI-EY report, which states that the number of brands investing in Esports rose from 72 in 2021 to 80 in 2022, and it is projected to reach 100 by 2023.

Animesh Agarwal better known as Thug, Founder, and CEO of 8bit Creatives and S8ul esports says, “In recent years, the perception of gaming has undergone a remarkable shift, with individuals and brands both recognizing its immense potential as a lucrative revenue stream. At 8Bit Creatives, our creators have successfully curated numerous campaigns with brands from diverse sectors. This allows me to assert that both endemic and non-endemic brands are actively seeking ways to engage with gamers today.

The recent return of the game as Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) has revitalized the Esports community and is expected to accelerate the growth of competitive gaming. According to the estimates from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the game clocked about $33 million in in-app spending from July 2021 to July 2022 and also made history by becoming the first Esports event to be broadcasted on mainstream television (Star Sports).

ParvSingh aka soul_regaltos is a professional gamer as well as gaming content creator with over 2.3 million subscribers on YouTube. Speaking on the importance of BGMI he says, “BGMI has played a pivotal role in contributing to the rise of in-game spending within the Indian gaming community. By also causing an upsurge of Esports tournaments in the country, the game has attracted brands through numerous lucrative mediums such as in-game advertisement, sponsorships, and content creation opportunities. It has single-handedly elevated the competitive landscape, giving emerging players the opportunity to showcase their skill and become stars within the community.”

The evolution of Esports in India has been further accelerated by the emergence of new technology and platforms catering specifically to the gaming community. New-age technology such as Web3, AR and VR, gesture-controlled gaming as well as exclusive gamers’ social network platforms are all enabling a technological revolution to radically transform the Esports industry in India.

Qlan, an exclusive social networking app designed for gamers and esports enthusiasts, recently secured pre-seed funding to fuel its expansion and enhance gamer networking, discovery, and content creation capabilities. Sagar Nair, Co-founder, and CEO of Qlan commented, “The burgeoning global Esports industry is witnessing an influx of technologies poised to revolutionize the sector. Our own app QLAN has successfully been able to elevate gamers’ social networking to new horizons and empower the ever-expanding community of gamers. We firmly believe that India will adopt further next-gen tech in video gaming to not only relish its immersive experience but to change how gaming is perceived in the coming years, allowing the industry to scale bigger heights.”

All in all, the video game industry in India has experienced remarkable growth, diversification, and recognition. It has become a significant cultural and economic force, offering entertainment, job opportunities, and a platform for creative expression.

eSports

Oddin.gg Secures Exclusive Esports Data & Integrity Partnership With YaLLa Esports

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Oddin.gg Secures Exclusive Esports Data & Integrity Partnership With YaLLa Esports
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Following on several major partnerships in 2024, Oddin.gg solidifies its global presence in the official esports data landscape with a multi-year partnership with YaLLa Esports, a leading esports media company and tournament organizer based in the United Arab Emirates.

Established in 2016, YaLLa esports has emerged as a significant force in the Middle East esports scene. As a team of former gamers, they have deep insight into the hearts and minds of esports fans, therefore their success does not come up as a surprise. Their inaugural Compass event in Abu Dhabi, which recently concluded, was a resounding success.

We have every reason to believe that their upcoming editions starting this July will produce even better results, and that their CS2 events in the coming years are only going to further bolster their position as leaders in the region.

This deal represents another Oddin.gg’s step forward in integrating server data directly into the full suite of betting services, offering clear benefits to all stakeholders in the sector. The partnership is in line with Oddin.gg’s commitment to support the esports ecosystem by offering sustainable revenue streams.

Marek Suchar, Co-founder and Managing Director at Oddin.gg has the following to say about the partnership: “I’m thrilled to welcome YaLLa Esports to our growing list of partners. The achievements of Klaus and Teemu and their team in the region over the recent years are truly remarkable, and I’m honored that Oddin.gg can contribute to their continued success. I am sure that a collaboration of two companies with such great passion for esports will not only deliver new engaging products, but also be nothing short of a big boost to the esports industry in the region.”

“I’m personally thrilled about this long-term partnership as both Oddin and Compass are cutting-edge brands with innovation at their core, pushing the space forward by always looking for the next big thing when it comes to fan experiences,” said Klaus Kajetski, Founder of YaLLa Esports; sharing his perspective on the collaboration.

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TEAM VITALITY RENEWS WITH ZEN UNTIL 2026, PAVING THE WAY FOR ROCKET LEAGUE LEGACY

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  • Team Vitality renewed its contract with Alexis ‘zen’ Bernier for two years, with the ambition to continue making Rocket League history.
  • Zen’s meteoric rise highlights the club’s approach to recruiting and supporting the development of young talent.
  • The French prodigy has been with the club since before he entered into the professional scene, all the way to his crowning as Rocket League world champion.
  • The renewal comes as part of Team Vitality’s ambition to retain its superstar players with its sights set on a third World Champion star for its jersey.

 

Paris, June 18th, 2024 – Team Vitality, the internationally leading esports club, is proud to announce the renewal of its prodigy player Alexis “zen” Bernier until 2026. In just one year of his career, zen has already made his mark on the history of Rocket League thanks to his unprecedented performances.

This year, the 17-year-old even made it into the prestigious Forbes “30 under 30” ranking in the Sport & Games category for Europe. The renewal of zen’s contract underlines Team Vitality’s desire to maintain its status as the best Rocket League team in the world and to enshrine its players in the club’s legend.

FROM A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH TO WORLD CHAMPION

In 2022, Alexis debuted his talent in 1V1 show matches on Scottish Rocket League caster JohnnyBoi_i’s channel. Undefeated and undeniably talented, he quickly became a phenomenon and reinvented the very way of playing the game. Thanks to his incredible creativity and his unprecedented mechanical accuracy, zen was quickly considered the best player in the world, despite never having played in an official competition before.

At the age of 16, zen finally made his debut in official competition under the colours of the Bees. Joining the roster for the third split of the RLCS in April 2023, he made a sensational entrance alongside his teammates and friends Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois and Andrea “Radosin” Radovanović. Together, they exceeded the club’s wildest expectations.

During the 2023 season, the French trio remained undefeated in knockout matches, securing victories in three Regionals and the Major in the 2023 Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS). Zen’s contributions were pivotal in making Team Vitality the first team to achieve the perfect split. Where his crowning achievement came with Team Vitality’s triumph at the RLCS 2023 World Championships in Düsseldorf, and zen’s stellar performance earned him the MVP title.

In 2024, the team has already won a first regional and two qualifications for the Majors (Copenhagen and London) in fierce European competition. Zen’s rise within the ranks of Team Vitality continues and his in-game performances continue to draw attention.

THE ROAD TO WORLDS AND A THIRD STAR

Zen’s renewal sends a clear message to the world – Team Vitality is here to win another World Championship title. With its powerful roster, Team Vitality is ready to redefine the standards of excellence in the Rocket League circuit and consolidate its position as a favourite in the Rocket League scene. Having recently won the RLCS 2924 Major 2: Europe Open Qualifier 4, beating French rivals Gentle Mates Alpine in a thrilling 4-1 victory in the finals, secured their spot in the Finals of the RLCS Major 2 in London this summer.

A win at the London Major this June would not only solidify their position as the leading team in Europe but would also grant them a coveted spot at the World Championship in Austin, Texas. The global stage would present a golden opportunity for the roster to etch their names in history once again. A victory at Worlds would not only mark their second championship title but also a third star on their jersey, signifying their reign as three-time Rocket League World Champions.

We have been with Alexis from the start of his professional career in the world of RLCS, and we take immense pride that he has renewed his trust in us. He knows that we are ready to support him in the upcoming chapters of his career because together we have established a healthy and trusting relationship.” said Fabien ‘Neo’ Devide, co-founder and President of Team Vitality, Our club aims to retain its most talented players, to continue to be the best team in the world for years to come, and zen will continue to remain here and to be apart of the club’s legend and discipline.

As the club accelerates its international development, Team Vitality wants more than ever to retain its gems. The renewal of zen and its desire to shine on the world stage also coincides with a pivotal moment in the history of the French organisation. His unwavering commitment to performance, his intelligence and his team spirit embody the very essence of the club’s values – enough to push the limits of the game and inspire a whole generation of athletes!

A NEW TEAM VITALITY JERSEY TO CELEBRATE THE RENEWAL

To celebrate the occasion, Team Vitality is proud to announce the release of a special series of very limited edition jerseys. The club’s classic black and blue jersey will feature gold flocking on the player’s name as well as on the two stars on the chest.

Available for purchase online and in store at the V.Shop in Paris, these special versions of classic jerseys are limited to 50 “Vitality 2024 Pro Kit Jersey” jerseys and 50 “Vitality Paris Jersey 2024”.

 

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KitKat’s Sweet Partnership with Esports World Cup Kicks Off This Summer

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Nestlé’s iconic chocolate brand, KITKAT, has partnered with the Esports World Cup Foundation (“EWCF”) to support the inaugural Esports World Cup (“EWC”) this summer in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Their collaboration with the world’s largest gaming festival further integrates KITKAT into global gaming culture, combining the brand’s catchy “Have a Break” philosophy with the necessary pauses that come with gaming at all levels; Get ready to Climb. “Break”. Dominate!

By supporting the Esports World Cup, KITKAT aims to connect with competitive and casual gamers through its legendary ethos. Whether it’s a tactical pause on stage to discuss strategy, or simply a moment to reset and come back refreshed to take on what’s next, having a break is an essential aspect of the gaming experience. KITKAT and EWC view breaks as an integral part of life inside and outside the game, together aspiring to make each moment of enjoyment and rejuvenation for players and maintain a healthy approach to gaming.

“We are excited to partner with an amazing brand like KITKAT to bring a fresh energy and connection to the esports community”, said Mohammed Al Nimer, Sales Director, Esports World Cup Foundation.”This collaboration will not only enhance the experience of all visitors, but also highlight the importance of having strategic breaks for better performance. I highly encourage all fans attending the Esports World Cup to visit the KITKAT booth, have a break and enjoy some delicious KITKAT goodies!”

“This partnership enables us to connect with the next generation of gaming enthusiasts, offering them the breaks they need both in-game and in life” said Robert Helou, CEO of Nestlé KSA. “We believe we will deeply resonate with gamers by integrating our ‘Have a Break’ philosophy into the esports world. This collaboration highlights the importance of taking breaks and prioritizing mental well-being, especially in the high-stress environment of competitive gaming.”

Beginning July 3, the Esports World Cup will transform Riyadh into the epicenter of esports fandom and gaming culture. Located in Boulevard City, fans can watch their favorite athletes and clubs compete across 22 game championships for a share of more than $60 million in life-changing prize money — the largest prize pool in esports history. Across eight weeks, the Esports World Cup will also feature festival activities that include numerous gaming activations, community tournaments, pop culture celebrations, international experiences, and more. 

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