While India has no dearth of gamers who faithfully wait for new releases of their favourite games, it is only now that these gamers are competing in platforms where they can show their mettle.
One such platform was a gaming tournament held in Bengaluru with professional gaming teams from India, Sri Lanka and Thailand competing for a prize pool of Rs. 20 lakh.
Conquerors Insignia was organised by Playtonia, an e-sports start-up. The event was the culmination of offline and online tournaments held across eight cities and spread over four months.
Competitions in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Cuttack and Hyderabad, set the stage for the grand finale in Bengaluru. There were 5,000 spectators with 10,000 others reportedly watching via Twitch - a video platform for gamers.
The competition in the first-person shooter game Counter Strike: Global Offensive was won by gaming group Eternal eSports from Mumbai while DotA2 was won by Aggressive 5. The popular FIFA competition was won by Sudin Dinesh from Eternal eSports.
Anshuman Pandey, co-Founder of Playtonia, said: "We are witnessing the rise of eSports in India. Online gaming industry is growing with increase of the average internet speed and affordable PC hardware in the market. Professional Tournaments like Conquererâs Insignia by Playtonia with really large prize pools are fostering the eSports culture in India. We saw thousands of people getting excited about this event, it has been the largest eSports tournament in India in terms of footfall and live streaming.â
The Olympic Council of Asia included e-sports in the Asian Indoor Games in 2007 and the process has been started to get e-sports recognised by the International Olympic Committee.
Gaming, though not on the conventional list of sports, is fast becoming professional with regular tournaments and hefty cash prizes.
The e-sports industry is booming with more than 350 million sports enthusiasts in 152 countries.