Last week, game streaming platform Rooter signed local professional esports team GodLike to an exclusive streaming deal which it called “the biggest esports deal of its kind in India”. Although the official value of the deal has not been disclosed, industry watchers have said it is worth more than $1 million a year.
Although still small by global standards, a million dollar game streaming deal in India is a new phenomenon. According to industry experts, this is most likely the first deal of such value, and it is several times larger than previous “big” deals in Indian game streaming, such as the deal for Rooted with Orange Rock esports team in March this year.
Orange Rock is an eSports team specializing in the popular mobile game Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI). Industry experts say a tussle between two streaming platforms, Rooter and Loco, along with others looking to enter the market, could be the right thing for long-awaited gamers in India. a slice of the billion dollar global e. – sports pie.
In fact, industry watchers have compared this to the tussles between Microsoft, Amazon and Google years ago, which made several global players millionaires. In August 2019, Microsoft poached American professional esports player Richard Tyler “Ninja” Blevins from popular streaming platform Twitch with a deal worth up to $30 million a year.
In India, million dollar deals for players or esports teams to stream their gameplay are just the start. For example, Rajan Navani, founder and chief executive of gaming and digital entertainment company Jetsynthesys, said the rise of gaming deals in the country reflects a global trend, and streaming platforms want to attract subscribers that some of the biggest names in the game in the country bring. with them.
Ankur ‘Jauntytank’ Diwakar, a professional esports player, agreed and claimed that esports are currently more watched than physical sports in India.
“The streaming market is huge – esports is already streamed on multiple platforms, and now even over-the-top (OTT) streaming services are streaming tournaments. exclusive to drive engagement and expand its user base, streaming companies have a strong incentive to sign more such deals,” Navani said.
Rohit Agarwal, founder and director of gaming-focused influencer marketing company Alpha Zegus, said Rooter’s deal with Godlike would likely lead the competition to make similar moves. The company’s competition includes game streaming startup Loco and unicorn Dream Sports, operator of sports streaming platform Fancode, which some say will eventually stream games.
Piyush Kumar, Founder and Managing Director of Rooter, said the platform also facilitates brand partnerships as well as streaming deals. Loco could not be reached for comment.
Agarwal added that the biggest individual gaming influencers in India are earning between ₹5,000,000 and ₹20 lakh per month. The top esports teams in India, on the other hand, win between ₹20 lakh and ₹30 lakh per month, and even smaller teams earn up to ₹2 lakh every month. These revenues, however, include tournament prize money, streaming partnerships, and brand endorsements.
Certainly, global professional gamers and gaming influencers have been getting such offers for quite some time now. In February, US-based Rachel “Valkyrae” Hofstetter signed an exclusive three-year contract with YouTube Gaming. Although the value of the contract has not been disclosed, the industry estimates that Hofstetter, who has more than 3.6 million subscribers on YouTube, earns around $150,000 (approximately ₹1.16 crore) every month through streaming deals, brand endorsements, and other activities.
Globally, game streaming has been growing in popularity since early 2010. Swedish YouTuber Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg is arguably among the earliest and most popular of these streamers.
But platforms like YouTube Gaming and Twitch focus more on serious PC games than mobile games, which are more popular in India, giving domestic platforms something of an edge.
Twitch’s parent companies YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming have a significant presence in India, however. They could also easily turn to these marketplaces, via servers hosted by Amazon, Google and Meta, respectively.
In October 2020, Manish Chopra, Director and Head of Partnership at Meta, stated that the company’s video game viewership in India had increased almost sixfold over the past year.