World Esports Day 2023: Gaming Enthusiasts Celebrate Meteoric Rise of Industry's Progress In the last few years, the Esports industry has come a long way. All over the world, it is now transformed into a mainstream sporting and entertainment phenomenon, drawing in sponsors, athletes, and fans.

By Priya Kapoor

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Esport has also been confirmed as a medal sport for Asian Games to be held in 2026..

Esports games have no longer remained a pastime activity now. In the last few years, the gaming industry has come a long way. All over the world, it is now transformed into a mainstream sporting and entertainment phenomenon, drawing in sponsors, athletes, and fans. Indian government too recognized it as an official multi-sport event in December 2022. The sport has also been confirmed as a medal sport for the 2026 Asian Games.

Its rising popularity can be gauged from the fact that a whopping 79% of the total online population engages with video games. Not just that, video games have become important marketing tools for many companies too, and is witnessing not just brands but well-renowned mainstream sports athletes get associated with the sector.

India's sporting sensations Neeraj Chopra, Rohit Tokas and Pramod Bhagat recently appeared at the BGMI India Series final LAN event, demonstrating how the lines between traditional sports and Esports are blurring. Not just them, but country's other sporting icons too such as M.S. Dhoni, Sunil Chhetri, and all-rounder Hardik Pandya have all joined the Esports revolution, becoming ambassadors for games such as Free Fire and BGMI.

On the ocassion of World Esport Day on October 21, gaming enthusiasts discussed how this game has come far off, and has made its way into the mainstream and major international tournaments, leaving a lasting impact on the video gaming ecosystems of countries all over the world.

Animesh Agarwal, Co-Founder of S8UL Esports and Founder & CEO of 8Bit Creatives: "The Esports industry, globally and in India, has evolved significantly in its ability to attract sponsors and brands. This transformation is driven by the immersive nature of gaming, allowing brands to connect deeply with their target audience. The response from fans and viewers offers brands a unique opportunity to enhance their visibility and influence. Gaming has become a dynamic platform that enables brands to engage with people in ways beyond traditional advertising, fostering exciting collaborations and an expanded presence in the gaming community"

Sahil Jakhar, captain of Team SOUL, the champions of the Battlegrounds Mobile India Pro Series (BMPS) 2022: "Esports and traditional sports share fundamental traits, including discipline, strategy and a competitive spirit. Witnessing cricket, football, boxing, and athletics stars become a part of Esports is truly inspiring for athletes like us. It validates the industry among the broader public who may still be unaware of its remarkable growth. Moreover, it serves as a driving force for players to grind hard with the aspiration of one day reaching the same heights as these legends in their respective sport."

Lokesh Suji, Director of Esports Federation of India (ESFI) and Vice-President of Asian Esports Federation (AESF): "After the presence of Esports at the Commonwealth Esports Championships, Asian Games 2022 as well as the introduction of the Olympics Esports Week, we are witnessing the growing visibility of Esports as a new-age sport. Going by the IOC President Thomas Bach's positive comments at the 141st IOC Session in Mumbai regarding the development of the Olympic Esports Games, it is safe to say that it is not a matter of 'if,' but 'when' it will find its place as a medal sport at the Olympics. The global reach of Esports and its ability to unite people from different backgrounds make it a powerful contender for recognition on the world's grandest sporting stage."

Akshaj Shenoy, the captain of India's League of Legends team that achieved a historic fifth-place finish at the Asian Games 2022: "Esports has started to become a serious and rewarding career option in India. The platforms, support, and recognition that we athletes receive today are unparalleled. Representing the country at the Asian Games in Hangzhou was an honor for me and I can surely say that aspiring Indian video gamers are already dreaming of competing for India in such a competition one day. India's Esports ecosystem is all set to benefit from this participation through new talent right from the grassroots level that will proliferate the country's presence on the global stage."

The future of Esports is promising. And the integration of cutting-edge technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will offer new dimensions to the gaming experience. With the backing of industry leaders, influential athletes, and a growing fan base, the future holds limitless opportunities for Esports, not just in India but globally.

Priya Kapoor

Feature Editor

Priya holds more than a decade of experience in journalism. She has worked on various beats and was chosen as a Road Safety Fellow in 2018, wherein she produced many in-depth & insightful features on road crashes in India. She writes on startups, personal finance and Web3. Outside of work, she likes gardening, driving and reading. She can be reached at her email id:




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