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Esports and India – can the two win big?

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Esports and India - can the two win big?Reading Time: 4 minutes

For 47 days in India’s summer heat last year, eight IPL teams played a 60-game tournament, culminating in a one-run win for Mumbai Indians. More than 25 players, along with several coaches and members of Mumbai’s staff were rewarded with USD 2.4 million. Two months later, in Seattle, Team Liquid, comprising five members, bagged USD 10.86 million of the USD 24.7 million prize money for winning an 11-day Dota 2 tournament called The International.

The rise of the esports industry – currently valued at USD 700 million – has been compared to the exponential growth of cryptocurrencies, but without the unpredictability of the bull and bear trends that govern financial markets. Predictably, the subsequent influx of capital from external investors – Alibaba, Intel, The Walt Disney Company*, The Kraft Group, Hewlett Packard and even Jennifer Lopez – has helped sustain its growth. The latest boost is the IOC recognizing it as a ‘competitive sport’, the first of many steps towards seeing esports in the Olympics.

More than half of the esports markets is in China, USA and South Korea; the scale of awareness, and inevitable growth in India, though, hasn’t yet materialised, with the absence of widespread high-speed internet connectivity the most influential of several reasons. Yet Lokesh Suji, director of the Esports Federation of India – India’s esports governing body – is optimistic on the sport’s prospects.

India’s world ranking (in the IeSF esports championship) jumped from 29 to 20 last year,” he told ESPN. “It’s estimated that India has around 120 million online gamers. This population will cross 300 million by 2021. From a PC and console perspective, the spread is largely concentrated to metro and B-category cities, but for mobile, the other cities have a decent share. From a gender perspective, we have 32% females, who are active on consoles. The serious esports community in India is pegged around 10 million.”

The typical gamer is between 18-25 years old and picks up esports in college. Game strategies are developed during classes, with breaks spent executing them. A few years ago, gamers had a hobby, but not a career opportunity. That is what’s changing. In 2017, for example, in all tournaments combined, more than INR 2 crores (USD 308,000 approx) was paid out as prize money for competitions in India.

Considering the incipient stage esports is in India, growth percentages, rather than actual prize pools, are a fairer measure of growth in a developing market. The prize money for Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), two of the most popular global games, increased by 40 and 46% respectively in the past 12 months. According to data from AFKgaming, Dota 2’s prize pay-out rose from INR 40 lakhs (USD 67,000) in 2016 to INR 67 lakhs (USD 103,000) in 2017. CS:GO’s increased from INR 36 lakhs (USD 56,000) to INR 68 lakhs (USD 105,000) in the same period.

But Suji advises caution. “We have always counselled the budding talent that studies and education comes first in a country like India,” he says. “Don’t compromise on your studies to follow your passion, India has not yet reached the level of cricket. It will take time. This time will be less in comparison to what cricket took to reach where it is today. India has the largest youth population in the world. Esports is culturally more relevant to current and upcoming generations.

There is much work to be done, Suji concedes. “Esports needs to be taken to the grassroots levels. Esports cafes will create awareness and act as a training ground for budding Indian talent and will help identifying the best athletes. With regards to counselling budding talent.. at times we even get calls from parents of the youngsters who want to take up esports as a career. ESFI is working with colleges and schools to get esports included as part of their sports and cultural fests.

No sport has gained popularity without spectators and growing fan bases. Esports has adopted a franchise-based model, with gamers from several countries comprising a team. According to a report by Newzoo, a company that tracks intelligence in the digital gaming industry, esports could have 586 million participants by 2020, with more than half coming from the Asia-Pacific region. Still in its nascent stage, India will make up just a fraction of that viewership base.

The size and scale of opportunity is growing, but it’s at a nascent stage,” Rajan Navani, Managing Director of JetSyntheses, a digital gaming company, tells ESPN. “Esports moving into the Olympics is going to give a big fillip to a country like India. The market will really grow when we have esports champions coming to India.

The best parallel is China, 10-15 years ago, if you look at digital gaming and esports, it was nothing. But now, it’s the largest market. India will have the same growth as China, but not in the same way. Broadband reached the homes of people, it changed the esports industry. When you have high bandwidth, you have great connectivity. And digital payments is a relatively new phenomenon.

In India, investments are flooding in, albeit primarily for millennial engagement as opposed to the traditional esports method of competitions played in front of specially-designed computers. “Gaming is the digital gateway to consumers in India. Esports cannot be developed in isolation, it needs an ecosystem of payments, players, competitiveness,” Navani says. “Many people don’t have the means. In India, there is a small group that pays and a larger group that engages.

That approach to esports in a developing market seems to be working. Walking into a recent digital gaming show on the outskirts of Bengaluru, it feels like a chance for gamers to tour the chocolate factory. Stalls covering the length of a football field allow trials of different genres of games. The characters of several RPG’s (Role Playing Games) have come to life through costumes. Shirts in bright colours with technical jargons, such as ‘Gamers don’t die, we respawn’ feel nostalgic.

But there only seem to be young faces around, another reminder of the distinct industry demographic. Parents lag behind their children, either unexcited or oblivious. Blaring, echoing music adds to the ambience. It’s loud, much like how esports has been in the last few years.

Like any other sport, the industry has had to maintain its integrity by effectively managing hurdles such as performance-enhancing drugs and match-fixing. Like any other sport, it is evolving and maturing quickly to a global audience. But with a unique niche, exponential growth and its ability to attract more, it is unlike any other sport.

 

Source: espn.in


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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SG Gaming secures largest single UK Licensed Betting Office gaming supply deal including roll out of Equinox™ terminal range

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SG Gaming secures largest single UK Licensed Betting Office gaming supply deal including roll out of Equinox™ terminal range

LONDON, June, 2018 /PRNewswire/ – Scientific Games Corporation (NASDAQ: SGMS) (“Scientific Games” or the “Company”) today announced that the Company’s UK divisionSG Gaminghas signed a landmark seven-year agreement with Ladbrokes Coral Group to continue to supply its cutting-edge terminals, innovative content and industry renowned service.

The agreement is a significant one for both companies and will see SG Gaming continue to supply its industry leading hardware solutions across Ladbrokes Coral retail estate of over 3,500 shops – cementing it as SG Gaming’s largest contract to date, and the single biggest gaming supply deal in the LBO sector.

Ladbrokes Coral will continue to benefit from SG Gaming’s extensive library of innovative in-house content and titles from SG Gaming’s selected third party providers, market leading service and support, as well as state-of-the-art terminals, including the Equinox range which provides an entertaining and enhanced player experience.

As part of the agreement SG Gaming will install Equinox 2.4 terminals across a significant part of the Ladbrokes Coral estate, with the initial roll out expected to be completed by the end of 2018. This follows the successful trial of the Equinox terminal, the newest member of SG Gaming’s product line, across 100 Ladbrokes Coral sites through 2018, in which the terminals demonstrated superior performance and player experience. Modular in design, SG Gaming’s next-generation terminals also feature ‘Privacy Mode’ – a unique industry innovation which provides discrete gameplay on the fully interactive new 15.6″ V-Deck+™ button panel.

The agreement demonstrates the commitment to and investment in the UK LBO sector by SG Gaming and shows that both SG Gaming and Ladbrokes Coral remain focused on delivering a strong future in UK retail gaming. The ongoing commitment to implement player protection measures and responsible gambling initiatives will also continue to remain a focus for both businesses.

CEO of SG Gaming UK, Phil Horne, said, “This deal – which is the largest in our history – comes during one of the most significant years ever for SG Gaming for product innovation as we have continued to work with our customers to develop and launch our biggest, most innovative and most exciting new product range to date, creating an offer that can help our customers adapt with confidence to the changing gaming environment. We have a longstanding relationship with Ladbrokes Coral, and our ongoing commitment to both the LBO sector and their individual business needs is reflected in our mutual desire to work together on a larger scale for the next seven years”.

“We have worked closely with the team at Ladbrokes Coral to provide them with an innovative gaming product that we believe will complement and enhance their overall retail offer, and we are very excited about working with them on the next stage of this successful partnership”.

Mark Chambers, Retail Managing Director at Ladbrokes Coral Group said, “SG Gaming has shown us that it is a forward-thinking supplier, not only with its impressive new products and investment in the sector but also with its continued focus on driving the direction and implementation of player protection measures across the industry. We look forward to continuing to work with them as we build on this partnership”.

© 2018 Scientific Games Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.

About Scientific Games
Scientific Games Corporation (NASDAQ: SGMS) is a world leader in gaming entertainment offering the industry’s broadest and most integrated portfolio of game content, advanced systems, cutting-edge platforms and professional services. The company is #1 in technology-based gaming systems, digital real-money gaming and sports betting platforms, casino table games and utility products and lottery instant games, and a leading provider of games, systems and services for casino, lottery and social gaming. Committed to responsible gaming, Scientific Games delivers what customers and players value most: trusted security, engaging entertainment content, operating efficiencies and innovative technology. For more information, please visit www.scientificgames.com.

Company Contacts

Investor Relations:
Scientific Games:  Michael Quartieri +1 702-532-7658
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Media Relations:
Scientific Games:  Susan Cartwright +1 702-532-7981
Vice President, Corporate Communications
susan.cartwright@scientificgames.com

Forward-Looking Statements
In this press release, Scientific Games makes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as “will,” “may,” and “should.” These statements are based upon management’s current expectations, assumptions and estimates and are not guarantees of timing, future results or performance. Therefore, you should not rely on any of these forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. Actual results may differ materially from those contemplated in these statements due to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors, including those factors described in our filings with the SEC, including the Company’s current reports on Form 8-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and its latest annual report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 1, 2018 (including under the headings “Forward Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors”). Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and, except for Scientific Games’ ongoing obligations under the U.S. federal securities laws, Scientific Games undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Scientific Games Corporation


Source: European Gaming Media

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ICE Africa venue revealed

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The venue for the first ever ICE Africa gaming show has been announced. It is the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. The event is scheduled to be held between October 24-25

Clarion Gaming, the organiser, declered that the choice had been made after consultations with the entire industry.

Updating the industry on the progress that’s already been made, Kate Chambers, managing director of Clarion stated: “There is a deep and genuine enthusiasm for this event which will take the characteristics of its mother brand – ICE London – and apply them to meet the requirements of the industry in Africa. Five months ahead of ICE Africa going live, we have secured the support of 15 top brands including Merkur Gaming, Kiron Interactive, Meridian, VNE and OnlinePay, all of which have committed to be part of the ICE Africa experience.

Following the hugely positive coming together of all sectors of the industry at the inaugural Gaming Africa in 2017, ICE Africa has launched – the first occasion the ICE brand has been extended beyond its London, UK, home. ICE Africa will be an event where the industry can meet, network, see the very latest gaming innovations, share best practice and progress in a strategic and sustainable manner.


Source: European Gaming Media

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Macau rejects extra live-dealer tables for Morpheus

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The SAR government has declined a request to add more live-dealer tables to the City of Dreams Macau casino resort.

Melco Resorts and Entertainment opened its US$1.1 billion Morpheus hotel at the City of Dreams Macau casino resort last Friday, but won’t be able to do exactly what it wanted to do. The Macau SAR government declined a request to add live-dealer tables at the venue both for its opening and the rest of 2018, and will only look into it again next year.

The Macau SAR government has granted approval to the respective gaming concessionaire to transfer 40 gaming tables (not including slot machines) from its other casino properties to Morpheus in 2018,” the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) told GGRAsia, adding: “Next year (2019) the Macau SAR government will study whether it will allow the gaming concessionaire to add new gaming tables to Morpheus.

When reviewing the application for gaming tables, the Macau SAR government has strictly adhered to the principle of limiting the number of gaming tables to not exceed a three per cent annual compound growth rate for 10 years starting from 2013,” the body said.

In order to reconsider its decision, the governing body will look into “the amount of non-gaming facilities, whether it will promote Macau as a ‘World Centre of Tourism and Leisure’, and if it will help to improve the quality, health and diversification of the Macau gaming industry.”

 

Source: FocusGamingNews


Source: European Gaming Media

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