Advertising spends on esports have increased: Akshat Rathee, Nodwin

Rathee, Co-Founder and MD, Nodwin Gaming, speaks about the impact of covid on esports and why marketers need to re-look at the esports when it comes to brand spends

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Updated: Jul 20, 2020 11:17 AM
Akshat Rathee, Nodwin

With COVID-19 keeping us confined to our homes, it has forced us to look at options that were never mainstream. One such option was esports. Though it has been growing consistently in India, however in comparison to LIVE sports, esports is still looking for its due recognition.

Akshat Rathee, Co-Founder and MD, Nodwin Gaming is among the noted evangelists of esports in India. In an interview with e4m, Rathee spoke about the impact of covid on esports and why marketers need to re-look at the esports when it comes to brand spends.


What has the impact of Covid been on esports in the last 100 days?

It has been phenomenal but we have to understand what has been happening. Understanding that we were living in a negative environment where parents used to tell their kids to either go outside and play or study. But then Covid happened and now the behaviour of going and playing games in the drawing-room. Suddenly parents also became more inquisitive about what their kids were playing. Extreme numbers of gamers are registering and all my tournaments are doing well. People like Hardik Pandya are also playing it and then there is, of course, someone like Carryminati who is making millions out of it. 

Is there a fear that this spike in esports might be limited to covid phase only?

The last time something like this happened was demonetisation where the entire youth of our country understood what digital payments are. So we need to ask whether will the amount of player base be exactly the same pre-Covid and post Covid. Is this behaviour now institutionalised? Advertising spends on esports has increased. Marketers have a choice to go back to old normal but they will not give up on gaming or e-sports in future because they know that it has started becoming one of the most-watched sports in the country.

How do you see the esports market in India compared to markets in developed countries?

I believe that esports has arrived in India. In America and Japan, it started with arcades and people were very socially competitive. Europe, Korea and China are more into PC gaming than arcade gaming. In the Middle East and Asia, it is predominantly on the mobile. On mobile esports, we are among the top 2 countries in the world. Our ecosystem is robust as we have more players, teams and watchers than any other country in the world. 

How is esports divided between Bharat and India?

I often give the cricket analogy there. PC gaming is a test match overlap of cricket. It has to be very prim and proper. One day cricket is more like console gaming. Every time there is an India and Pakistan match, it does well. Mobile gaming is Bharat gaming. The second-largest language for esports is not actually English but Tamil. 

In your view, what will be the broad trends in esports as far as the Indian market is concerned?

I think esports will go down like any other sports. It will become more mainstream. We have done various events with lots of content creators and players. We will see more brands actively accepting us. 

What do you have to tell the marketers when it comes to spending on esports?

First is do not judge it yourself ask one of your children or someone from the younger generation. Second is observe the streams, viewership and the interactivity. And the third is to judge it by any common metrics that you have. Do not compare it with football, cricket or kabaddi. It is just another sport so do not complicate it too much.

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