What Pakistan Can learn from the rise of E-Sports In India
India is massively progressing and reports are surfacing of how economists estimate that India will have a bigger economy than Britain in a decade. Thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that India has also greatly progressed in a field held dear by many of us: Gaming. This can be seen by the number of game development companies popping up over there (even Ubisoft has an office in Pune), and now given the fact that last year ESL launched in India and even held tournaments, they are seriously entering eSports.
Most of us are no strangers to the eSports League, but for those of you who don’t know, ESL is an eSports league headquartered in Cologne, Germany. It is the one of the oldest and currently the biggest gaming league worldwide. ESL play is the world’s top platform for eSports. It organizes tournaments for players of all levels across numerous games. Quoting their website, 7,175,483 members have played 12,514,671 matches in 89,972 tournaments! These are amazing figures!
ESL came to India in collaboration with NODWIN gaming, the country’s flagship gaming organization. ESL India will be acting as the primary platform for tournaments organized by NODWIN nationwide. Their entry into India has officially initiated the history of eSports in the country. Additionally, gamers will get the chance to earn ESL points, which will enable them to qualify for tournaments held by ESL abroad, such as the ESL One tourney in Cologne. Fallen, a major eSports superstar from Brazil tweeted about his interest in playing in India.
The most recent tournament organized by both parties, the ESL India Masters, held in late 2016, was won by Risky Gaming. The UAE based guest team defeated Invisible Wings 2-0 in a best of three finale. Along with the sparkling trophy, Risky Gaming came out with a handsome cheque of INR 500,000, which equates to roughly PKR 800,000! The MD of NODWIN seemed very happy with the successful conduction of the final, labelling it as the ‘start of a new era’. He proudly stated how India is well on its way to having gaming as a full-fledged profession, mimicking western countries. He further added how he hopes this encourages local gamers to take the field seriously.
However, it’s notable that the head of NODWIN believes that the main reason Indian gamers cant take up gaming as a profession is that they lack the skills.He regretfully stated how India’s professional gamers go abroad to take part in tourneys, but they lack the necessary ability to attract global teams to pay out substantial amounts, which brings us to the second problem: The remuneration.
Stating a sad misconception and stereotype, “Aisi cheezon se ghar nahi chalte”. Touché, mom.
Quoting the CEO of NODWIN, Akshat Rathee, “International players have coaching, therapy and whatnot. Whereas Indian gamers suffer from lack of basic facilities. Things such as frequent power cuts really discourage a gamer from considering playing games professionally.”
It’s an undeniable fact that specialists of any field are in high demand worldwide. Moreover, most firms who demand perfection are willing to empty their pockets as well. However, as of now Indian gamers don’t have that level of specialization.Many of you might be asking one question: what does India have that we don’t? The answer to this is simple: We don’t have NODWIN.
The thing is, we can and to some extent, already do have somewhat of an informal eSports industry in Pakistan. Taking for example, tournaments held in gaming lounges, universities and a handful of organizations i.e Pak Gamers Republic . For example, most gamers based in Lahore must be acquainted with Eclectic Vibrations, the gaming lounge in Phase 2 DHA-EV organizes tourneys frequently, with prize money going up to many thousands in each tournament.
It’s worth mentioning how PTCL’s Gaming Lounge(PGL) is promoting eSports in the country. They also host tournaments, and the mere fact that they have installed dedicated gaming servers to cater to the gaming community of Pakistan shows how much interest they take in the matter. Make no mistake, there are serious challenges ahead. Financial restraints, exposure, community building, public awareness and lack of coaching are just the tip of the iceberg. Quality control and consistency of events which do take place, plays a big part too.
Pakistan has gamers with substantial potential (Sumail is one glaring example) but hardly anybody is willing to work for the initiative. Gamers ourselves lack the determination to fight for this cause as most don’t see a future. Pakistani gamers play games to kill free time, and the highest level of professionalism we can exhibit is wannabe Call Of Duty Clans duking out each other in a game of Search and Destroy while maintaining records of each CM, aka clan match. Thus, a few gamers who do have interest in playing professionally eventually have to go abroad to do so.
Perhaps it’s high time some dedicated professional organizations take up the mantel, and bring in enough financial strength to make it a viable business, because without that, eSports wont take off here. With gaming industry becoming bigger and bigger each year across the globe, many would argue its about time.
What do you say? How can we further nourish the eSports industry in Pakistan? Comment below to express your views!