Harnessing the esports market to curb the outflow of gaming dollars

KARACHI: There is a craze among young Pakistanis for esports such as fighting games, and the creation of esports franchises like Galaxy Racer would keep the dollars young people spend on esports in the country.

“You can’t take the screen (mobile, tablet or computer) from young people and they are already spending dollars on e-sports such as fighting games,” said the president of the Special Technology Zones Association (STZA), Amer Ahmed Hashmi. “It’s better to give them a competitive games option.”

Esports was just getting started in Pakistan, with the entry of Galaxy Racer into the country. This would not only meet local demand for games, but also help establish an industry for game creators and game graphics, he added.

Galaxy Racer has received the license and is expected to invest $2 million in the country with its operations to be conducted from STZ in Islamabad.

Pakistan faces an ongoing current account deficit problem – meaning it spends more foreign exchange, mostly through imports, than it generates through exports. The current account deficit crossed $12 billion in the first eight months of fiscal 2022.

The STZA has just released its report – Facilitating The Next Big Opportunity: E-Sports. The report explores the potential of esports. The esports industry is a segment of the massive online gaming ecosystem.

The global online gaming ecosystem, which generated approximately $21.2 billion in revenue in 2020, includes distributors and retailers, streaming services, hardware developers, gaming arenas, esports, software developers, game publishers and game developers.

The global gaming market was valued at $198.40 billion in 2021, and it is expected to reach a value of $339.95 billion by 2027. The report states that the global online gaming ecosystem has become l one of the most profitable industries on the planet.

Although the terms online games and e-sports are often confused, they are not interchangeable. The former refers to the action of playing video games, while the latter is competitive or professional gaming (Visual Capitalist).

Esports is a segment of the online gaming ecosystem, it is a critical and growing industry that has the ability to influence the entire ecosystem. Statista, which is a German company specializing in market and consumer data, reported that global esports revenues topped $1.08 billion in 2021.

Statista also predicts that by 2024 the industry will reach $1.6 billion.

“The esports industry is ecosystem-driven since its key players include not only gamers, but also content creators, influencers, sponsors, tournament organizers, publishers, content streamers and the public,” the STZA report said.

The esports industry uses emerging technologies including high-end GPUs and CPUs with liquid cooling systems, high-tech peripherals, data centers and render farms with cloud rendering, high-speed internet for low latency access, game engines, sound engineering labs, motion capture studios, virtual production studios, ARNR and 3D animation software and game arenas.

Some of the best games include League of Legends, Call of Duty, Dota 2, Fortnite, FIFA 22, PUB G and others. Most of these games are now known. The US government has even recognized full-time League of Legends players as professional athletes.

Most of the target audience for the esports industry is Gen Z and Millennials. It is estimated that 52% of Pakistan’s population is under the age of 25, making the country one of the largest markets with Gen Z. Given that most esports tournament audiences are between the ages of 16 and 34, which is a comfortable demographic. with the integration of virtual and offline experiences.

“This makes the country a market with very high potential as 64% of its population is under 30 years old. Moreover, with 188 million cellular subscribers and 107 million 3G/4G subscribers, the country’s digital landscape seems also promising to meet the demands of this highly profitable and futuristic industry,” the report adds.

Meanwhile, Amer Ahmed Hashmi said there is a demand for esports in the country which is set to increase in the future.

He added that to meet demand, government policy and incentives to work in STZs would allow graphic designers and game makers to obtain high-end computers duty-free. Currently, these were very expensive and carried significant rights of 300% in some cases, which made them inaccessible for these potential creators.

“This will enable the gaming industry in Pakistan, not only the gamers but also the manufacturers and creators of these esports, to benefit the country economically,” he added.

About Cedric Lloyd

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