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Can Esports At Asian Games 2023 Break All Viewership Records?

7 months ago By AI Smith

In the past year of 2022, the Indian esports industry has faced many challenges with the Indian government suspending various popular battle royale games like Free Fire and Battlegrounds Mobile India. This was due to the many regulatory changes made by the government for online gaming. Despite the obvious challenges, esports in India continued to grow and now has a strong footing on the global stage. For example, the Indian esports organization Global Esports was the first team to be selected for the Valorant Asia-Pacific League and at the 2023 Commonwealth Esports Championship, Indian players also won a bronze in Dota 2.

The esports industry in India had a tough year in 2022 with many bans and regulatory actions, however there were some highlights as well. Battleground Mobile India (BGMI), the Indian version of PUBG, returned to the gaming scene with a majority of positive reviews. The game having a good reception upon its return also caused it to be broadcasted on prime-time Indian television. This led to newer demographics being introduced to the game and the world of esports. The viewership of BGMI Masters Series also broke records as it garnered 12.3 million views in the initial eight days of the tournament.

However, the success was soon met with set backs as the government blocked BGMI and Free Fire from all app stores. This played a huge role in the drop in viewership as the two games were the some of the most popular in India. According to the esports viewership charts, BGMI had a total of just around 50 million hours watched. With the top two most played games out of the picture, other games like New State Mobile and Valorant have come out as potential replacements. It is still a long road for the esports industry and with the exit of BGMI and Free Fire, many esports enthusiasts are wondering if the industry can make a comeback. With a strong Indian presence at the ongoing 2023 Asian Games, it seems like things are looking up for the industry.

India at the 20232 Asian Games

The 2023 Asian Games are currently taking place in Hangzhou, China after it was postponed last year. The event is an important one for the esports industry as it is the first time an international sports event has officially included esports as a medal sport. This means that esports players are now able to compete on the international stage and win medals for their country. This move is also gives esports more legitimacy as an official sport. There are seven games included in the line-up which are League of Legends, Street Fight V: Champion Edition, Dota 2, EA SPORTS FC ONLINE, Peacekeeper Elite, Arena of Valor, and Dream Three Kingdoms 2. The Indian contingent will be participating in four of these games – League of Legends, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, Dota 2, and EA SPORTS FC ONLINE. Two of these games have already taken place, with two more still on the schedule.

The journey for the Indian squad for League of Legends on the 2023 Asian Games began on 27th September 2023. They enter the tournament through the quarter finals as they obtained the top seed in the Central and South Asia seeding event. Starting from the top 8 phase of the tournament, they went up against the Vietnamese squad, however after an intense battle, they lost with a score of 0-2. Even with the loss, they still placed fifth in the tournament. While they may not bring a medal home, the squad still made history and have blazed the trail for future esports players.

Ayan Biswas aka AYAN01 and Mayank Projapati aka MiKeYROG were the Indian contingents for Street Fighter V: Champion Edition. They both competed for the title and began their fight from phase 32 of the tournament. Biswas managed to reach till the top 16 stage but promptly exited with Mayan on opening day. The next game is Dota 2 which will take place on 29th September 2023 and the Indian Dota 2 team will be competing against Philippines and Kyrgyzstan. The squad consists of captain Darshan Bata, Krish Gupta, Shubham Goli, Ketan Goyal, and Abhishek Yadav.

As esports in general have some of the highest viewership numbers, it can be concluded that its inclusion on the Asian Games 2023 is sure to boost the international event’s viewership ratings. As of now, people from all over Asia are tuning in to watch the sporting events taking place while rooting for their country’s team to win. With esports included as an official medal event, esports enthusiasts are sure to tune it to watch their teams play and even possibly win. For India, this is a great move towards getting esports recognized as an official sport in the country as well.

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