Indian gaming firm JetSynthesys has bought Chennai-based Skyesports which is one of the largest esports companies in the country with a grassroots play. JetSynthesys already has a grip on India’s professional gaming market and aims to use the acquisition to build a base at the grassroots level, said Rajan Navani, vice chairman and managing director of the acquirer. He did not disclose the deal's worth.
“Someone starts off as a casual gamer, then becomes a mid-core gamer and eventually looks at how they can become a professional gamer. I think esports really addresses that, where the game is a sport,” said Navani. Skyesports has intellectual properties (IPs) like Skyesports League and Skyesports Grand Slam.
“We will work together to create many IPs for gaming and esports enthusiasts in the country,” said Gnana Shekar, chief marketing officer of Skyesports.
India’s esports industry has been fuelled by games like PUBG Mobile over the past two years. Navani noted that mobile games are likely going to fuel further growth in the industry and it will take a while for Indian gamers to truly adopt high end console and PC-based esports. He also noted that though India is a big market for gaming, it accounts for less than 1% of the industry right now.
JetSynthesys also makes a lot of its money from building mobile games. The company had partnered with Japanese gaming giant Square Enix earlier this year to build the mobile game Ludo Zenith. It is also the developer of popular mobile games like Real Cricket and Sachin Saga.
“India is still playing catch-up when it comes to PC and console games, because we never had high bandwidth connectivity into homes, which is why S Korea, etc. grew. And consoles of course had cost hurdles. But India is catching up massively in mobile. About 17% of all games downloaded on Google Play last year were from India,” Navani said.
According to an August 2021 report by mobile analytics firm App Annie, India was the top market in terms of mobile game downloads in 2021. The country accounted for over 4 billion game downloads during the first half of 2021 alone. In comparison, the next three countries on the list — the United States, Brazil and Indonesia — had just over 2 billion game downloads each.