The addition of esports as a medal event in the 2022 Asian Games has indeed been a monumental step. Even with the games now being postponed from their original date in September, many market leaders believe that this remains a turning point for the esports industry in the regions of both India and South Asia.
In a conversation with Abhishek Mallick of Sportskeeda Esports, Ishan Verma, Founder and Director of Chemin Esports, opened up on the importance that the event will hold in the coming years.
He even spoke about the creation of his esports organization, the vision that went into its making, and how he is looking to expand his team to more competitive titles like FIFA, Hearthstone, DOTA 2, and Valorant.
Here is an excerpt of the interaction.
Ishan Verma, Founder and Director of Chemin Esports on the importance of the 2022 Asian Games for the Indian esports market
Q. Ishan, I would love to hear about your journey in the Indian esports and video games scene. Talk to us a bit about your early career and what led to the foundation of Chemin Esports.
Ishan Verma: It all started in the year 2020 during the covid pandemic. During the lockdown, I started following the esports structure around the world. At that time, I would say the Indian esports industry was at a growing stage as compared to [the] global esports industry. Seeing a future potential in the Indian esports Industry, I decided to invest into this, and that’s when Chemin esports was founded.
Q. How did Chemin Esports come to be? What are some of the visions and expectations that went behind its creation?
Ishan Verma: Our goal is to act as a Talent Incubator for the upcoming esports athletes and help them achieve their maximum potential and thus build a career in esports.
Q. As I am aware, in French, “Chemin” stands for "path". So can you tell me the reason behind picking the word for the name of the organization, and what the color orange in the logo signifies?
Ishan Verma: As you rightly pointed out, “Chemin” stands for “path”. We try to construct the right paths for esports athletes to have successful careers. We associate orange with high energy and with a vibrant social environment. It is an active color that is associated with determination and success; that matches the mindset of players.
Q. What are your thoughts on the current state of esports and video games in India? Where do you see it in the next five years?
Ishan Verma: While the Indian esports industry is relatively new compared to the global industry, it has seen a rapid rise during the pandemic period. Various new investors now see this industry as having a potential future and are readily investing into this. With the Asian and Commonwealth Games scheduled for later this year, 2022 will be an important year for the Indian esports community.
The younger generation has now started to understand what esports is, and especially with many esports organization that is working towards educating parents about this industry, many are starting to take this career seriously.
Within five years, I am sure we will be able to compete at the global level and it won't be far away till we have world champion players from India.
Q. What, according to you, were some of the biggest benefactors that allowed gaming, especially mobile esports in India, to see a significant boom in players and viewership over the last couple of years?
Ishan Verma: I would say easy access to mobile devices and the internet. During the lockdown, YouTube was one of the major sources of entertainment for kids. Influencers like Mortal, Goldy, Ghatak (and many more) played a very important role in guiding the youth and educating them about esports. The younger generation has now started idolizing them and taking up esports as a career.
Q. With esports finally being added as a medal event in the 2022 Asian Games, by how much do you think community perception towards the industry will change? Do you feel it will finally be taken as seriously as other traditional sporting events?
Ishan Verma: Yes, I am sure this will be a turning point for the Indian esports industry just like the 1983 World Cup was for the Indian Cricket.
With the esports policy in the making and Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic (AVGC) task force announced by the Indian Government, the Indian esports industry will be given the right direction. Also, the interest of major brands like ITC, Pepsico, AMD, etcetera, will propel the industry into the next orbit.
Q. How is Chemin Esports preparing for the Asian Games? Is the BGMI roster trying out new strategies and gameplays for the upcoming competition?
Ishan Verma: As there are eight medal events at the Asian Games, Chemin Esports is looking to enter into other games as well apart from BGMI. We are looking at Hearthstone, Dota 2, and FIFA.
As I have heard, there is completely a different format for BGMI being followed for the Asian Games event, unlike the normal Battle Royale game. So we need to wait and watch what the format exactly will be and if the current roster of players is suitable for such an event.
Q. It is no news that when it comes to player and viewer engagement, mobile gaming is far ahead of PC in South Asia. Do you think that the gap between the two platforms will close in the next couple of years?
Ishan Verma: As you rightly said, the mobile gaming is far ahead in South Asia. The main reason for that is the easy access to mobile phones.
Not all can afford a gaming PC and thus the number of people taking up PC games is way less than mobile games, which in turn affects the viewership. As of now, it seems a little difficult for the gap between the two platforms to close.
Q. Is Chemin Esports looking to build more teams for other competitive titles in the coming months? Will you be looking to finally step foot in the PC scene?
Ishan Verma: Chemin Esports is definitely looking to expand into other mobile as well as PC Games. Our focus as of now will be on the eight medal events in the Asian Games like Hearthstone, Dota 2, and FIFA.
The Indian Valorant scene is also on the rise and we are keeping an eye on the upcoming players and teams as well. We are waiting for the right opportunity!