E-Sports in Pakistan: A billion-dollar industry lies in waiting

Even though having effectively established itself as a multibillion-dollar industry on the international level, E-sports is still finding its feet in Pakistan. Sadly, E-sports is largely an ignored industry in Pakistan. There are inadequate tournaments for players to showcase their ability as nobody else here has experienced the spotlight with a proper mechanism. 

Over the decades, Pakistan has made its mark as a manufacturer and company of sports supplies, with the Sialkot-based industry earning millions of dollars in foreign exchange yearly.

The scene, as far as the sporting world goes, has transformed internationally, with the digital podium running parallel to the physical. And it is here that the country has not been capable to tap the market yet in spite of having the related manpower resources.

With the passage of time, the E-sports industry in the country has grown vastly in recent years, but it still needs further assistance. However, there are encouraging indications: Pakistan is planning to take different E-sports initiatives and it seems like the government has also recognized it as a field to spend in.

The establishment of more podiums and gaming teams will support the cause further. But, one thing is obviously clear; with the talent it possesses, Pakistan can prosper in this industry with the right approach and direction.

E-sports given status of a sport

Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry has said that for the first time in the history of the country, e-sports will get the status of a regular sport in March 2021.

According to the minister, a memorandum had been reached between the Pakistan Sports Board and the Pakistan Science Foundation.

Chaudhry in his tweet wrote that e-sports would get the status of a regular sport after the memorandum would be finalized. If you are interested in video games, get ready, new opportunities are waiting for you, the minister maintained.

Earlier in an interview, the minister had said the video game industry is worth 90 billion dollars. There is an annual growth of 20% for the video game industry in Pakistan. He further said the companies working in Pakistan are telling him that they have more jobs available than people.

The minister said the government would support gamers who qualify for international e-sports tournaments and his ministry would surely support talented individuals who could earn a name for Pakistan.

Pakistan gaming industry

The world of e-sports gained mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Pakistan, however, e-sports have taken a backseat with the occasional tournament held at the local or university level.

In spite of this setback, Pakistani players have taken the initiative to partake in international or regional tournaments and prove their spirit. After witnessing the escalating popularity of mobile games, the rise in digital app development took place.

The first-ever commercialized video game Cricket Revolution was developed by a Lahore-based start-up, Mindstorm Studios. Launched in October 2009, the game also holds the title to be an official online game for the Cricket World Cup 2011.

We.R.Play is Islamabad based gaming company founded by Mohsin Ali Afzal and Waqar Azim in 2010. Dream Chaser, a game developed by We.R.Play was published by the renowned Chillingo, a leading games publisher on iOS. The release of Dream Chaser marks a milestone for the gaming industry of Pakistan.

E-Sports industry is a big pool of cash

E-sport or video games are not of one type but of several types including racing, fighting, adventure and action games.

The success of this industry can potentially generate a whole lot of good for the government by escalating employment and foreign investments. This sector is a big pond of cash, from advertising, streaming rights, sponsorships and products to astounding prize money.

The first step to solving any issue is recognizing its existence. The government requires crawling out from under the rock and realizing that gaming is not just what kids do to waste their time.

The globe has changed, and banning or disregarding this or that in the country is only going to set us further back. When Pakistan can get support from China and other countries in all issues, why not in developing our E-Sports industry?

Pakistanis have the right acumen to succeed

In regard to E-Sport, developing players for the international competition is one facet of the issue, while game development is another, and it is in the final that the real money lies.

Several  Pakistani-origin game-developers and other technical resources working globally for big game development studios are proof that Pakistanis have the accurate acumen to be successful.

Renowned developers, Shahid Kamal, the former director of Strategic Content at Sony and an avid game developer at heart are the sort of mentors Pakistan can engage to lead the local developers.

A number of countries from China, Iran, America, Turkey, India to the Scandinavian state have spent heavily in their respective gaming zones, besides creating an atmosphere for growth that business can valve into and take advantage of. It is high time that the authorities take a parallel approach in this Naya Pakistan despite tall claims.