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The Indian eSports scene has been busy this year from the very start. The Indian esports market is expected to triple in size by 2025, from INR 250 crore today to INR 1,100 crore, at a CAGR of 46%.

Recently, India’s Total Gaming team lifted the World Esports Cup 2021 (WEC ’21) title after outclassing teams from Pakistan and Nepal.

The South Asia’s premier tri-nation esports tournament, WEC ’21, which was sponsored by smartphone maker Infinix Smartphones, witnessed a huge participation with 1.2 million registrations from India, Pakistan and Nepal and saw a massive viewership across the social channels of India Today Gaming (ITG).

Talking about a successful conclusion of the World Esports Cup 2021, Vishwalok Nath, Director, WEC ’21 said, “The esports athletes across three countries showcased their A-game in the global finals and the competition was nothing short of top-class. We are driven by our association by working with a bunch of talented players across India, Pakistan and Nepal and this serves as the perfect set up to take our marque property to new heights.”

Most of what is happening in the esports market is directed at Gen Z. For example, mainstream companies are teaming up with gaming companies to win young hearts. Organisations are tapping into the monetization potential via merchandising. Foreign brands are trying to connect with India’s local flavours by offering more accessible content. While social networking in gaming platforms is increasing gamer connectivity. Efforts are also on to bridge the gap between budding talents and brands.

KFC India Will be the Official Chicken Dinner for OR Esports

The amount of churn esports is generating can be judged from the number of mainstream companies partnering with esports companies. And all to get to young audiences.

For example, OR Esports announced KFC India as the team’s ‘Winner Winner Chicken Dinner’ (WWCD) sponsor for 2022. As sponsors, KFC would support streaming of gaming events, provide unique jerseys for players to wear their excitement, and also perhaps surprise players with a digital avatar of Colonel Sanders.

“Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” is a popular phrase gamer’s shout to celebrate a victory in one of India’s most popular multiplayer battle royale games Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI).

This collaboration enables the brand to engage with the fast-growing gaming audience via direct connection with their favourite game and convert them into loyal customers in the longer run. As brands in India battle for Gen Z’s attention, being the ‘Winner Winner Chicken Dinner’ sponsor puts KFC India in the very battleground where all the action is taking place.

This partnership will include content creation, activations and fan experiences via live tournaments, video integrations and branding at the OR Esports gaming house.

NODWIN Gaming Acquires 100% Stake in Licensed Merchandising D2C Company Planet Superheroes

In another development, NODWIN Gaming, South Asia’s leading esports company and a material subsidiary of Nazara Technologies Limited, has acquired comic, pop culture and superheroes merchandising retailer, Planet Superheroes.

This new addition will enable NODWIN Gaming to offer iconic global merchandise to the millions of youth who engage with NODWIN Gaming via its immensely popular IPs such as India Premiership, VCC, NH7 and DreamHack.

NODWIN will also expand on the current offerings of Planet Superheroes by exploring partnerships with global publishers like KRAFTON, Gameloft, Riot Games etc., to create innovative and locally relevant merchandise and licensing offerings on games like BGMI, Valorant, PUBG PC, Asphalt, CSGO, etc., that have become household names.

“The Indian gaming and esports industry has witnessed a metamorphic rise in its fan base in recent years. The acquisition of Planet Superheroes will enable NODWIN Gaming to have another strategic touch point with fans that celebrates a common love for all things gaming, pop culture and esports. We believe in increasing the existing offering of global brands to include mega tournaments, Games and even the popular talent and players like Mortal, Samay Raina, Tanmay, Ankit Panth and others,” said Akshat Rathee, Founder and MD, NODWIN Gaming.

Read more: Zaid Afsar: The journey of an eSports athlete from a small town

“There is huge untapped monetization potential for gaming companies via merchandising and we share a common vision in realizing this potential with PSH joining NODWIN. I believe we will get two immediate wins, a larger consumer base for our existing IPs and a new supply of licenses and partnerships in the gaming industry,” said Jaineel Aga, Founder and CEO of PSH.

NODWIN Gaming continues building out its portfolio of offerings to gaming and esports fans in the country. This acquisition adds to its recently acquired minority stake in new-age digital media organization Rusk Media and the acquisition of the gaming and adjacent IP business of OML Entertainment, taking on the BACARDI NH7 Weekender music festival IP, the YouTube fan Festival and gaming talent like Samay Raina and Tanmay Bhat.

The Pokémon Company Banks on Multilingual Content to Boost Indian Presence

As India is swiftly becoming an attractive market for esports and gaming, organisations are trying to connect with local flavours. After the massive success of its Hindi YouTube channel, the Pokémon Company will also roll out its latest Pokémon animated series, Pokémon Journeys, in three more regional languages – Telugu, Tamil and Bengali.

With 8,00,000+ subscribers, The Pokémon Asia Official (Hindi) channel on YouTube has already been streaming the Pokémon Journeys series since 29th October 2021. The company’s Hindi content channel has gained over 1,00,000 subscribers in three days.

Commenting on The Pokémon Company’s multilingual India strategy, Susumu Fukunaga, Executive Officer, The Pokémon Company, said, “I have seen that a great many people have watched the Hindi language version of our Pokémon anime that has been distributed on the Pokémon Asia Official (Hindi) channel since October of 2021. I am also thrilled that even more people in India will enjoy Pokémon animated content because we will begin the distribution of versions dubbed in Telugu, Tamil, and Bengali for the first time.”

The Pokémon Company will release one new episode in each language every Friday at 7 PM. The Telugu, Tamil, and Bengali versions of Pokémon Journeys can only be seen on the official YouTube channels.

Ultimate Battle Introduces Social Networking for Gamers

For gamers to interact, engage, create and share content exclusively, Indian online esports platform Ultimate Battle, has now incorporated innovative Social Networking features for gamers on their platforms.

This newly added social networking module provides gamers with a unique set of features to enable gamers not only to play games but also to socialize with other gamers. Ultimate Battle now provides gamers with the ability to share gaming content, create personalized gaming profiles, and follow gaming celebrities. Players will also be able to build their community, gain a follower base, and showcase their achievements.

The module is loaded with a slew of innovative features including one-tap access to their profile pages and detailed game stats of games played, won, or lost on the Ultimate Battle platform. The content sharing feature is currently available for legacy users only and full rollout will be done post-beta phase.

“Our aim is to not only bring together the huge esports community under one single umbrella but allow the diverse community to exchange their knowledge, expert tips, experiences and also identify the right target group to connect and help the gamers grow. Every esports athlete, organizer, team, talent management institution are invited to join the platform and build an Ultimate Universe without any external support,” said Tarun Gupta, Founder, Ultimate Battle.

Ebullient Gaming exclusively ties up with AKEF; bags influencer management mandate of SIGMA talent

In an attempt to bridge the gap between budding talents and brands, Ebullient Gaming, an Indian talent management agency has joined hands with AKEF PLAY PVT LTD to manage and accelerate the growth of around 24 big gaming talents from their talent roster of Sigma Gaming which has a massive viewership of 10 million plus on a monthly average.

AKEF is one of the largest gaming communities in Kerala and through this partnership with Ebullient Gaming will be focusing on building a robust gaming ecosystem and leveraging the brand value of gaming influencers and the esports athletes of Sigma Gaming with their efficient talent management services.

“We have a community made up of the gamers, by the gamers for the need in the gaming ecosystem. Ebullient Gaming, being a front-runner in the gaming talent management sector, will provide enormous opportunities for our hidden talents in Kerala to come to the limelight. With a common vision, we are entitled to give maximum support and act as a catalyst to bridge the gap between budding talents and brands. With this partnership, we aim to create national footprints for ourselves as well as our players and creators,” said Amal Arjun, Director of AKEF.

Ebullient Gaming, an influencer marketing and management agency—led by Anirudh Nagpal, co-founder and CEO, and Aman Garg, co-founder and COO—envisions the growth of the esports & gaming industry while being one of the enablers in the process. The agency has created an influencer marketing roadmap for many gaming talents in the past with the association of some of the top international brands such as NBA, Gillette, One Plus, Huawei and many more.

Read more: Virtual stadiums provide esports fans with the same exhilarating experience as physical sports

AKEF has so far conducted more than 200 competitions across various games like Clash of Clans, FIFA, BGMI, Call of Duty and Pro Evolution Soccer. With a huge number of talented streamers, it also organises community tournaments regularly and acts as a talent incubator.

As per the mandate, Ebullient Gaming will handle queries and concerns of all the gamers, ensuring that they have a pleasant and smooth experience in their upcoming opportunities.

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