Women are making their mark in the gaming arena

“Streaming started to pick up quickly 4-5 months after it started and so I decided to quit my job in finance and become a full time game streamer. I’ve only been doing this full time for 8 to 9 months,” Hiranandani said.

Sakshi Sood, 22, based in New Delhi, is another professional gamer and content creator who started streaming games such as GTA5 during the lockdown. “After BGMI launched, I started streaming that too and garnered over a million subscribers within a year,” Sood said. She is mainly active on Facebook. Sood has also participated in several BGMI (Battlegrounds Mobile India) tournaments.

Hiranandani and Sood belong to the new breed of casual gamers and streamers who made the leap to full-time gaming as a career after the Covid-19-led boom in the Indian gaming industry.

On average, female gamers and content creators earn between Rs.30,000 and Rs.100,000 per month. This is also what most male players do. Top players earn even more, according to Trinity Gaming. Branded deals, eSports tournaments, affiliate brand marketing, barter collaborations, and platform compensation are some of the ways both male and female gamers make money.

According to a November 2021 report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and venture capital firm Sequoia, the Indian gaming industry generated $1.8 billion in revenue in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR). ) by 38%, which is faster than even the United States (10%) and China (8%).

“During the pandemic, we have seen immense growth in the gaming ecosystem. Participation of female gamers has also increased a lot. Two years ago, only 4% of gamers were women. Today, female gamers represent 15 % of the professional gaming community in India,” said Abhishek Aggarwal, co-founder and managing director of Trinity Gaming, a gaming content marketing company. His company now works with 10 times more female professional gamers than before. the pandemic.

Anurag Khurana, Founder and Managing Director of Penta Esports, confirmed that the presence of women in the game streaming space has improved significantly. However, he also noted that there are still not enough players in eSports. “There are only four to five teams that have announced their female rosters in India.”

Things, however, seem to be improving. Last month, Acer held a tournament on Valorant, a multiplayer online game, for female gamers in India as part of its Predator Gaming League (PLG). The tournament received a total of 1.2 million impressions and an audience of 180,000 spectators. Thousands of women participated with Team Mollies winning, according to Acer. “We believe that female gamers would play a huge role in the growth of the esports industry. It’s inspiring to see women taking gaming seriously,” said Sooraj Balakrishnan, Head of Marketing at Acer India.

The involvement of game publishers is important, according to Trinity’s Aggarwal. “The more publishers get involved, the more validation and support players will get,” he added.

Khurana, however, believes the industry needs to do more to attract more women into esports. “If you look at casual games put together, 40% of gamers are women. In professional and serious games, the number is still quite low compared to men. There is no encouragement for women to participate in the game. eSports. Some companies are taking such initiatives but they are very limited and more symbolic than a standard,” said Khurana of Penta Esports. He regrets that gaming is still not encouraged at home, especially for women.

Online bullying and harassment, for example, are some of the other factors that gamers have to deal with. “We receive hateful comments daily. Over time, I learned to deal with those comments by ignoring them,” Sood said. Hiranandani added that she hasn’t met another player who hasn’t been harassed and bullied. an advantage because the game is mostly male dominated and people are curious when they see women in the game.

The ratio between women and men is not only skewed in India. “India is not lagging behind. In general, all over the world there are few professional female players,” Hiranandani said. However, some of the top female video game streamers in the United States, such as Alia Shelesh, known as SSSniperwolf, have an estimated monthly income of $101,000. at $1.6 million, according to SocialBlade, a website that tracks social media statistics. She has 32.7 million subscribers on YouTube. Likewise, top eSports player such as Sasha Hostyn, also known as Scarlett, earned $423,000 from eSports games in February 2022, according to Statista.

Hiranandani said she will continue to focus on game streaming for now and has no plans to get into esports anytime soon as it requires a different skill set, lots of discipline and a good team.

Sood also focuses on streaming, but is now competing in more tournaments because that’s where you get more recognition, she added.

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