eSports In Olympics - Q&A with Sunny Paliwal Founder & CEO of Playwise
The popularity of eSports is soaring worldwide. To understand more, here is a Q&A with Sunny Paliwal - Founder & CEO of Playwise esports Pvt Ltd. Q: Hi Sunny, how do we understand the impact that esports has had. Sunny: It has become a billion-dollar industry with millions of players and enthusiasts. With the recent additions of the Overwatch League and NBA 2K League, the number of leagues has also expanded. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been monitoring the development of eSports over the past few years. They have even started to include some video games in the Asian Games. And now, it looks like eSports could soon be officially recognized as a medal event in the Olympics! What is eSports? Esports are organized video game competitions that are typically hosted by gaming leagues or organizations. The games played in eSports competitions can range from first-person shooters to real-time strategy games and everything in between. Some of the most popular eSports games include: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) Dota 2 League of Legends (LOL) Overwatch Fortnite Rocket League Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (COD) The electronic sports industry has grown rapidly in recent years, with professional gamers earning millions of dollars in prize money from tournaments all over the world. In fact, the global eSports market is expected to generate revenue of $1.79 billion in 2020! Q: How do you rate the present situation of eSports in India: Sunny: According to a report by Indian gaming company Glance, the Indian esports industry is currently worth $890 million and is projected to grow to $1.1 billion by 2021. With such rapid growth, it's no surprise that more and more people are taking notice of the phenomenon. But what exactly is driving this growth? Let's take a closer look. Q: What are the factors that contribute to the increased accessibility Sunny: One of the biggest factors driving the growth of esports in India is 1. Increased accessibility In the past, gaming was seen as a hobby that was only for dedicated enthusiasts. However, with the rise of smartphones and affordable data plans, gaming has become much more accessible to the masses. According to Glance, there are currently 160 million mobile gamers in India. This number is only expected to grow as smartphone penetration increases. Furthermore, with the advent of streaming services like Twitch and YouTube Gaming, people can now watch their favorite gamers play without having to own a console or PC themselves. This has helped bring eSports into the mainstream and increased its appeal to a wider audience. 2. Improved Infrastructure Another reason for the growing popularity of esports in India is improved infrastructure. In the early days of competitive gaming, tournaments were often held in small venues with subpar equipment. However, as the scene has grown, so has the quality of tournament infrastructure. These days, major tournaments are held in large stadiums and arenas with top-of-the-line equipment provided by sponsors. 3. Many companies and organizations have started investing in professional esports teams. This has helped provide structure and support for aspiring gamers who want to make a career out of playing video games. While prognosticators can give their best guesses, no one really knows for sure. Esports has already been deemed a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games in an effort to increase validity and go mainstream. There’s even talk of making esports an Olympic event. Tony Estanguet, co-president of the 2024 Paris committee, plans to make a case for the sport’s inclusion at the Summer Games Q: Why is the IOC considering adding eSports to the Olympics? Sunny: There are a few reasons why the IOC might want to add eSports to the Olympics. For one, it would help them appeal to a younger audience. According to a report by Newzoo, the average age of an eSports fan is 28 years old. This is much younger than the traditional Olympic demographic, which is 40 years old on average. Another reason why the IOC might be considering adding eSports to the Olympics is because they want to tap into the huge amount of revenue that it generates. As we mentioned before, the global eSports market is expected to generate $1.79 billion in revenue this year alone! And that number is only going to go up in future years as more and more people get into playing and watching competitive video games. Will all video games be eligible for Olympic medals? No, not all video games will be eligible for Olympic medals if and when eSports are added as an official event. The IOC will likely only select certain games that adhere to their values and meet certain criteria, such as not featuring excessive violence or gore. Some of the specific video games that have been mentioned as potential candidates for inclusion in future Olympic Games include CS:GO, League of Legends, and Rocket League. Esports should also be in the Olympics because they are accessible. For example, you would probably not see a person who is an amputee playing football, but an amputee could still become a professional esports player. For example, Ewok is a 13 year old deaf professional Fortnite player. Right now, she is in the World Cup and is in FaZe Clan, a professional esports team. So esports could be an event in the Olympics and Paralympics, and disabled players could go to either one or both. They still need to do the things other pros need to do, like scrimmaging and doing solo practice. Also eSports sports should be a part of Olympics because they are physically and mentally demanding. The professional Smash Bros player, Hungrybox said, “To be a sport you need to exercise the player’s mind and body.” A traditional sport like basketball or football needs the practice to get better and maintain that skill. Whereas, the schedule of an eSports player is also very hectic and tiring. Mentally, it’s also the same with esports, but probably even more so, because of updates, patches, etc. You have to constantly adapt to the video game if you want to keep up. Take Fortnite for example. Fortnite is a Battle Royale game created by Epic Games. The idea of it is that you and 99 other players drop from the battle bus and go around the map, look for competition and yet be the last one standing, or you could play with up to 3 of your friends in Squads. Epic Games constantly adds new ammunition and then removes some so often that you, as the player, have to constantly adapt. Mix in the building aspect, and you have a very competitive game.