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.
Pakistan is the second largest country in South Asia and has seen significant growth in the gaming and esports space in recent years. Despite a limitation on infrastructure and accessibility, the country has remarkable achievements in esports, especially when it comes to games in the fighting game community (FGC).
It is also a major region in the PUBG Mobile esports circuit, with its own national competition rolling up to the larger South Asian circuit and eventually the international circuit.
Professional players Syed ‘Sumail’ Hassan and Arslan ‘Arslan Ash’ Siddique are the two most prominent names originating from the country, with both having been world champions in their respective games, Dota 2 and Tekken, at some point. Arslan Ash is a four-time EVO champion in Tekken, making him undisputedly the best Tekken player in the world.
Middle Eastern esports and gaming company Galaxy Racer is notably active in Pakistan. Galaxy Racer Pakistan — the regional chapter of the UAE based organisation — opened in October 2021. Later that year, GXR Pakistan announced a partnership with Pakistan’s Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA), a government initiative that encourages foreign technology companies to invest in Pakistan.
The organisation has hosted an esports and gaming festival in Pakistan called Gamer’s Galaxy, a two-day event that became the first to be televised nationwide in partnership with Ten Sports Pakistan. Galaxy Racer is also behind the Supreme Galactic League, one the bigger esports intellectual properties in the region.
Pakistan has a large youth population, with 64% of the country’s roughly 207 million population under the age of 30, according to UN data. Galaxy Racer Pakistan CEO Fakhr-e-Alam has cited the youth population as a reason for its investment in the country.
However, the country’s esports scene suffers from poor infrastructure. Gaming equipment remains prohibitively high for many players. Many local players put up with frequent ‘load shedding’, where the energy grid cuts electricity for long periods of the day to conserve electricity. Arslan ‘Arslan Ash’ Siddique said in an X (Twitter) post in July 2023 that load shedding happens “multiple random hours of the day, so we had to wait outside arcades for the electricity to return so we’d be able to continue gaming.”
Additionally, many players rely on community fundraisers in order to raise enough money to attend international competitions. Visa issues have also been cited by players as a major barrier to Pakistani talent competing in major international events; Pakistan’s passport is ranked the fourth weakest in the world by the Henley Passport Index.
January 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Pakistan Sports Board and Pakistan Science Foundation which recognised esports as a regular sport, Pakistan’s then-Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, announced.
Chaudhry has been bullish about the growth of esports and gaming and has tried to grow the ecosystem with various initiatives.
Additionally, in 2021, the Government of Pakistan embraced esports through its ‘an initiative named ‘E-PAK’ initiative, which included an official competitive gaming event. The first official event from the venture was the Free Fire Pakistan League, a competitive Free Fire series.
In October 2021, Pakistan’s government initiative Special Technology Zones Authority partnered with Galaxy Racer.
Notable Tournaments & Leagues
Pakistan has a relatively small choice when it comes to domestically-focused tournaments. No major top-tier esports events have been held in Pakistan so far.
|Free Fire Pro League Pakistan||Supreme Galactic League|
|PUBG Mobile Pro League Pakistan||World Esports Cup|
Notable Esports Organisations
Note that this is a non-exhaustive list and exclusion does not signify an org is not notable.
National Association(s) / Federation(s)
Note that inclusion in this list does not suggest any acknowledgement from ESI of its authority, works or official capacity.
When announcing its Supreme Galactic League, GXR Pakistan also announced an initiative called Scholar’s Galaxy, a nationwide inter-college and school esports circuit. However, no further details were released about the collegiate championship. Its status and fate could not be verified at the time of publication.
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].