Esports Around The World is a series of profiles outlining the esports ecosystem in various countries globally. The series ties into ESI’s international esports business events, which take place around the world.
India is one of the biggest esports markets in Asia, with a market size of INR 3bn (~£30m) in FY2021 and a projected market value of INR 100bn (~£1bn) by 2025, according to a report by EY India.
India’s esports ecosystem is largely mobile-first, and is currently centred around titles like Battlegrounds Mobile India and COD Mobile. Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) is an India-only port of PUBG Mobile, which was previously India’s most popular esport.
PUBG Mobile was banned by the Indian government in October 2020, citing threats to sovereignty allegedly due to links to Chinese companies. Garena Free Fire, another domestically popular title, was also banned in February 2022 citing national security concerns.
BGMI was subsequently removed from app stores in 2022 for the same reasons. However, the Indian Government has since allowed the game to return, a move that was met with praise from the Indian esports stakeholders.
Riot Games’ PC title Valorant has also made its presence felt in the region, with Riot Games partnering with NODWIN Gaming to host the Valorant Conquerors Championship, a gateway to the global Valorant Champions Tour circuit. Indian companies S8UL and Global Esports additionally announced a VALORANT-focused partnership in 2023, focused on building the country’s VALORANT ecosystem.
CS:GO is also popular in the country. Indian esports company Skyesports launched India’s first-ever franchised CS:GO league in 2023, called Skyesports Masters.
India has successfully competed in esports events on the global stage. In 2018’s Asian Games, Hearthstone player Tirth ‘gcttirth’ Mehta competed in the Hearthstone medal event and earned a bronze medal. Fellow professional player Ankur ‘JauntyTank’ Diwakar also participated in the event in Pro Evolution Soccer.
Esports was officially recognised in India in late 2022. The change to India’s Allocation of Business Rules of 1961 saw the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports include esports in the category of ‘multisports events’.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has also added a section that further differentiates between esports and gambling, which had previously caused confusion in the country.
Nonetheless, India’s recognition of esports came despite the government decision to ban PUBG Mobile and later BGMI, which were the country’s biggest esports titles at the time.India’s Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports, Kiren Rijiju, has previously highlighted esports as an emerging platform for the country’s youth population.
Notable Tournaments & Leagues
Major tournament organisers like ESL and its flagship ESL One circuit, alongside Dreamhack, host events in India. Dreamhack is set to make a comeback this year with a LAN in Hyderabad in October. Meanwhile, endemic organisers like Skyesports, and NODWIN Gaming and Riot Games’ Valorant Conquerors Championship, also cater to the local market.
Notable Esports Organisations
Note that this is a non-exhaustive list and exclusion does not signify an org is not notable.
|7Sea Esports||Orangutan Esports|
|Enigma Gaming||Revenant Esports|
|GodLike Esports||Team S8ul|
|Global Esports||Velocity Gaming|
National Associations / Federations
Note that inclusion in this list does not suggest any acknowledgement from ESI of its authority, works or official capacity.
There are multiple esports associations in India, though no such organisation is officially recognised by the government at present. Among the existing federations, the Electronic Sports Federation of India (ESFI) is an official member of the International Esports Federation (IESF).
|Esports Development Association of India (EDAI)||Esports Development Association of India (EDAI)|
|Esports Federation of India (ESFI)|
Esports is not officially included in the academic curriculum at government-owned academic institutions. However, there are private academic institutes that offer courses in esports.
Among notable institutions in India, Whistling Woods International offers management degrees at the bachelors and masters level for sports and esports. In 2019, esports organisation Global Esports partnered with Harrisburg University (USA) to offer an academic programme in esports.
This is a preliminary country profile and will be augmented with additional information over time. If you have any suggestions or feedback for this profile, please get in touch at [email protected].
First published: March 29th 2022. Last updated: June 8th 2023.