Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Gamers of the future: Does Esports have a future in Pakistan?

Esports has come a long way since 1972, when the first gaming event took place at Stanford University

A file photo of gamers.
A file photo of gamers. 

These days, electronic sports (Esports) is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world.

It has come a long way since 1972, when the first gaming event took place at Stanford University. The winning prize was a yearlong subscription for the Rolling Stone Magazine.

Now, competitive and professional gaming has become a billion dollar industry with the potential to grow further.

E-sports offers a compelling viewing experience to a demographic that is no longer reliant on traditional media. In its tournaments, both amateurs and professional players compete in games such as:

  • First Person Shooter (FPS) like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty, and Overwatch
  • Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) like Dota 2 and League of Legends
  • Fighting Games like Tekken and King of Fighters
  • Sports-based like FIFA, PES, and Need for Speed

While here in Pakistan, the rise of Esports would not be possible if Syed Sumail "Sumail" Hassan, a Pakistani-based professional Dota 2 player. He bagged the title of becoming the youngest player to win $1 million in the sport in 2015.

Afterwards, Arslan Ash, the Lahore-based Tekken player, stunned everyone by winning EVO Japan and USA in 2019. He carried on his success to become the ESPN Esports Player of the Year.

As the local e-sports players began to shine worldwide, not only in Tekken but also in Valorant, CSGO, PUBG, and Dota 2, the government also took on a major initiative when Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted about giving esports a "Regular Sports Status".

Gamers of the future: Does Esports have a future in Pakistan?

E-sports in Pakistan further started to grow as the PUBG Mobile players shone in different competitions, making it the highest paying game in Pakistan. Their local tournaments are worth more than other game tournaments.

Dota 2 and Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CSGO) were the two top competitive games in Pakistan, but since the launch of Valorant over the past year, many players switched to the new FPS game. This new game also surpassed the number of tournaments organized in Pakistan compared to CSGO with the bigger prize pools.

Currently, Valorant and PUBG Mobile have become the spotlight games in Pakistan, achieving rapid popularity and bringing in many sponsors for the events.

Esports is a billion-dollar industry, and Pakistan is gradually proving it can produce a pool of talent in different games with bigger prize pools. The future of esports in Pakistan is crystal clear and bright for gaming, and the players should be confident about it.

The writer is a freelance journalist who loves to write on social issues, sports, and E-sports. He tweets at @OsamaQ96.