Gaming industry, eSports, Dota 2, COVID-19, coronavirus, Coronavirus outbreak,
According to a report, the esports industry is expected to see a 46% compound annual growth rate to grow over fourfold from ₹2.5 billion in 2021 to ₹11 billion by 2025 | Representative image: iStock

All in the game as COVID-19 fear keeps people indoors

At a time when world sport is in a major crisis, as is everything else, including all sectors of the economy looking at a downward spiral, the gaming industry seems to have some positive news.

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At a time when world sport is in a major crisis, as is everything else, including all sectors of the economy looking at a downward spiral, the gaming industry seems to have some positive news.

According to reports in the Financial Times and Channel News Asia, Tencent, a Chinese tech giant with stakes in some of the most popular games at the moment has stated that the gaming industry is what will tide it through the financial struggles related to the pandemic.

For a while now, there has been talk of eSports overtaking even the conventional sports in the future, as millenials have taken to it in a big way.

In 2018 at the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, eSports was a demonstration discipline, meaning the medals won in it did not count towards the overall tally.

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It had a strong South East Asian participation, even as a then 23-year-old gamer from Bhuj, Gujarat, Tirth Mehta, won a bronze medal in Hearthstone, one of the six games that featured on the schedule.

Tencent, one the biggest gaming companies in the world according to the, owns Riot Games (League of Legends), has 40% stake in Epic games (Fortnite), 84% stake in Supercell (Clash of Clans, Clash Royale and Brawl Stars).

Other than these they also have minority stakes in Activision (Call of Duty) and Ubisoft (Assassin’s Creed). These are among the most popular games around the world, including India.

According to Tencent, currently millions of people in China are self-isolating and spending more time at home. This is resulting in them spending more time on online games, videos, music and online reading services.

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At this critical juncture, analysts expect that the coronavirus will benefit the gaming industry, explaining the confidence Tencent has in its ability to handle the tough times to come, said Benjamin Wu of Pacific Epoch.

As the need for self-isolation due to the COVID-19 extends around the world, a similar spike in gaming is expected. This fact can be further corroborated by looking at Dota 2 which is the world’s biggest cash rich eSport.

As per, a website that tracks the online player count of several leading games, Dota 2 has seen an increase in the number of people playing the game.

In January this year, the average number of players online throughout the day was around 378,925 and the peak number was at 616,415. However since then there has been a rise in the numbers.

To date, the average number of players online at all times is 412,595 and the peak number has increased to 701,468. This is an increase of 8.9% in average traffic and as for the peak count, it has increased by 13.8% since January 2020.

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These figures are expected to rise further as self-quarantine and work from home continues for a large majority of people due to the lack of any immediate solution to the pandemic.

At the 2018 Asian Games, China won two gold, while Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong won one gold each, but the sport will not feature on the schedule for 2022, as many consider it as portraying violence, though there are talks about having less violent games in the future.

The games were held as an official medal sport in the South-East Asian Games in 2019 in Manila, the Philippines.

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