Riding with genuine cockpits: How an India-conceived CEO is hoping to revolutionise esports in the nation

Something which began in 1972 and required a significant stretch of time to begin, arrived at an unsurpassed high of $1.1 billion total assets in 2019. Presently it is normal that the esports domain could hit $2.17 billion by 2023.

sports is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Something which started in 1972 and took a while to get started, reached an all-time high of $1.1 billion net worth in 2019. Games like Fortnite, PUBG, Call of Duty, and FIFA games have been extremely popular amongst the youth and it now could convert into a career option rather than just a ploy to pass time.

The winner of the Fortnite in 2019 was a US teenager Kyle Giersdorf, who won the solo event of the competition in the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York and took home 3 million dollars.

FIFA eWorld Cup was introduced in 2018 with the FUT Champions game mode in FIFA 17 and saw more than 29 million people watch the first eWorld Cup. This figure rose by 60 percent the following year to 47 million as it was shown in more than 75 territories worldwide.

Now it is expected that the esports empire could hit $2.17 billion by 2023.

Switzerland’s Racing Unleashed is also looking to make a big foray into the market and has seen its business grow in the past few years. The ever-growing, efficient start-up combines state-of-the-art racing simulators with professional simulation software - bringing the real cockpit into the virtual motorsport world.

It launched the ‘Home Challenge 2020’ with virtual racers driving the Formula car Tatuus FA01 around Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The winners will be the top 5 racers who will have the fastest laps at the end of the challenge. It starts on Monday, May 11.

e caught up with the CEO of Racing Unleashed, Monisha Kaltenborn, who was born in Dehradun/Uttarakhand and is looking to capitalise on the ever-growing market of esports. Monisha talked about how Racing Unleashed sees the growth of esports in India and how they are looking to enhance the experience in the country.

Esports is today a global business that’s achieved a global business revenue of nearly 1.5 billion dollars in 2019. And e-racing comprised out of that 4.5 billion dollars in sales. So clearly it is one of the most important and fastest-growing segments of the sport and entertainment industry. Looking at this trend it’s clear that in such an active and booming market like India esports play an important role. Now, we are still at the beginning of this development in India, but looking at how fast the young generation is proceeding in the area of digitalization, esports is going to become more and more important.

We started very spontaneously with the home challenge this year. Given the restrictions that COVID-19 imposed on all of us, it was always our plan to start the online qualification. But given the circumstances, we just had to improvise a little and start quicker, so we did this on a very simple basis, and it was very interesting to see which parts of the word actually gave a very quick and big response to it. One of them was India next to Brazil and other Asian countries. In India mainly the states of Maharashtra and West Bengal impressed us with the number of participants and people who interacted on this home challenge. Looking at this experience, we certainly are going to continue with our home challenge. Based on the same format for the next race, and after that we do want to change the basis a little to move more towards the kind of online challenge, which comes closest to what we are doing here. But these are the plans, which we will, of course, announce in the next weeks to come.

The response has been overwhelming, considering that we just started out entering the segment on the challenge at home (“race from home) through the Assetto Corsa platform. That’s the software which we use for our game. And it just confirmed us in our way - and by far exceeded our expectations. We had a reach without any promotion of nearly 800.000, which is quite impressive.

We have seen there is a huge market for virtual gaming in India. Almost all Indians in metropolitans and other towns are so technologically advanced, they are using a lot of platforms. But still, the arena of esports is at a nascent stage. How do you think it can be improved? The potential to grow is massively and definitely there.