“ It was in 2017 when it (the gaming industry) flourished. The competitive gaming scene in the country witnessed a proposed investment of over $45 million in the months to come. ”
A $100,000 domestic tournament, competitive gaming on television and a handful of pro-gamers receiving bans. 2017 has definitely proved to be the best year yet for the Indian esports scene with some extraordinary storylines along with a handful of new stars and some surprising lows. As the year draws to a close, here’s a look back at some of the moments that defined the past 12 months of competitive gaming in the country.
Big Names and Big Tournaments Enter The Fray
While 2016 provided the necessary nourishment and foundation for the competitive gaming scene in the country, it was in 2017 when it flourished. The competitive gaming scene in the country witnessed a proposed investment of over $45 million in the months to come.
The year also excited players and enthusiasts alike with some explosive tournaments. At the forefront was ESL India Premiership 2017, which hosted an impressive $100,000 prize pool. This event featured an open league system apart from promising premier esports action throughout the year. Given the massive prize pool and competition, ESL India Premiership attracted talent not only from the country but from the region as well! Other similar tournaments were the Mountain Dew Arena 2017 which featured a unique offline activation, the ASUS ROG Masters 2017 and the Taiwan Excellence Gaming Cup 2017.
Arrival on National Television
After conquering the online streaming platforms – YouTube and Facebook, the Indian competitive gaming scene announced its arrival on television. DSPORT, a youth centric sports channel by Discovery Communications chose to promote competitive gaming as one of its many offerings. For this, the CS:GO matches from ESL India Premiership 2017 were telecasted on national television and made it easier for the fans of the game to access and enjoy their favourite game!
Not only on the business and tournament side of things did esports excel in the country, there was also an influx of the number of Indian participants attending International events. After stamping their dominance in the domestic scene, DOTA 2 team, Signify went on to represent the country at several prestigious tournaments. The long list included the regional playoffs of a Valve Minor as well as the APAC qualifiers of the ROG Masters. 2018 looks brighter for the team as they have already qualified for the WESG 2017 and the Acer Predator League. The game CS:GO also witnessed a similar storyline.
The country also excelled in the realm of single player games. Top Street Fighter V player, Bhagwant “B3” Bagh made the country proud at the ESL Brooklyn Beatdown 2017, which took place in the month of September. The player shocked everyone at the event with his impressive 25th place finish. Apart from his impressive run abroad, Bhagwant also finished first in domestic tournaments – the India Gaming Show 2017, KO Fight Night 2017 and the Mountain Dew Arena 2017. While many thought that StarCraft II was dying in the country, young gamer, Varun “Demi” Immanuel proved critics wrong. Varun has managed to secure slots at both the WESG 2017 as well as the IEM PyeongChang. Finally, Clash Royale player, Aadi Juneja went on to raise the country colours at the ESWC Paris.
As the Poison song goes, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, the Indian competitive gaming scene had its fair share of flaws. Similar to traditional sports, a handful of players received suspensions because they chose to use unethical means to succeed. Meanwhile, the Indian scene continues to tackle with the problem of stable team rosters. Even though contracts are in place, players still choose to jump ship. The notorious shuffle that occurred this competitive season was that of the infamous case of the Entity Gaming – Eternal Esports shuffle, where the whole CS:GO team changed banners overnight. These disruptions cause inconveniences not only to themselves but also the organisations, their fans and indirectly the tournament organisers as well.
The Road Ahead
While 2017 had its equal share of the good and the bad, the upcoming year holds a lot of promise. For a start, at the end of the Winter Season Finale of ESL India Premiership 2017, I announced that the Premiership would return back in 2018 bigger and better! And as a tease, we’ve allocated an impressive INR 1 crore as the prize pool!
With Indians daring to step out of the comfort of the domestic scene and wrestle with competition abroad. It is pertinent that the country’s name will be engraved on the trophies of prestigious international tournaments in the near future.
Speaking of acolades, no more will the achievements of Indian talents in the field of Gaming and Esports go unnoticed. Taking up an initiative, NODWIN Gaming has partnered up with Exhibit and together have announced the India Game Awards. Around 30 award categories have been identified and several enthusiasts in the scene will finally game on get the recognition they deserve.