Despite being one of the fastest growing spaces in the region, the video game industry is still not seen by many as as important as mainstream media.
However, stakeholders believe it won’t be long before esports and video games reach this level of notoriety. Vijay Subramaniam, the founder of the Collective Artists Network, is one of many voices who believe video games will become as popular as mainstream media over the next two years. It might even give birth to an individual who could be used as a “pop culture lexicon”.
In a conversation with Abhishek Mallick of Sportskeeda Esports, Vijay shares his thoughts on the Indian video game market, The Collective Artists Network’s future in the field, and their collaboration with Revenant Esports.
Here is an excerpt from the conversation.
Q. Sir, you have spoken quite clearly about the growth of India’s video game and esports industry over the past two years. Can you give us your thoughts on the current market situation and what it will be like in the next five years?
Vijay: From a global perspective, I think the games industry is one of the main growth pillars of the creator economy when it comes to digital media. We see so many brands and companies investing millions of dollars across the gaming ecosystem across the board.
I think gaming as an industry, both in casual gaming, streaming, and merchandising, will be the strongest growth curve we can see over the next 12-16 months.
Speaking of the long term, I think it will be a multi-million dollar business. It will bring out more influencers, like what YouTube did.
The gaming industry is also going to have influencers with a particular audience base that will become difficult for brands to ignore. Also, I think comedy and music exist as independent verticals, we can see a large base of creators coming out of the game industry.
Q. What do you think of the role that video game streamers and content creators play today when it comes to helping local talent and enabling them to connect more with the national entertainment industry? esport?
Vijay: What we are seeing now is the first group of barometers in terms of creators. Just to see the numbers we hear from game companies, the impact these game streamers have on the business is staggering.
I think even a strong hobby or passion can lead to a full time vocation in today’s world, and gambling is one of those streams. We will see the emergence of gaming influencers, franchises, and even teams.
So while we are still in the early stages, we understand our heritage of understanding, retaining and developing talent. Like what we’ve done with digital-first talent, by adding this as a new genre to the talent bucket, we believe we’ll be able to bring in more talent, tag them better, and position them better. , and give them a bigger web of monetization.
Q. While you’ve spoken quite clearly about growing the influencer market on par with traditional media, what do you think about the current position of the video game streaming and content creation ecosystem as a source? mainstream entertainment?
Vijay: I think it’s a source of mainstream entertainment. It’s just that it doesn’t affect too many people beyond a particular age profile. If you look at teenagers to young adults, I think the penetration is already there.
When we first started working with Revenant Esports, we realized how large and deep the market is. So if you ask me, I think the creator economy space will have a very strong layer of game creators coming in. This includes an amalgamation of creators, teams, tournaments, franchises, consumer brands that will grow over 8-12 months and grow into more mainstream.
Q. The Collective Artists Network recently signed a management contract with Revenant Esports. Can you shed some light on some of the thought processes and vision behind this endeavor?
Vijay: So we did it with the digital talent ecosystem and the musical talent ecosystem at the time. Now, when you step into a new area, as cultivators and developers who can help broaden the ecosystem canvas and build successful brands, Revenant fits well with that philosophy.
You will see us take more aggressive action and have a bigger role to play as we have spent the last 3-4 years understanding the digital market better, and now we are getting into the game. We are using the network and the steering wheels. Collective Artists Network, which has a great relationship with Indian business, media and entertainment, and the venture capital space to help these guys find their next stream of growth.
This could go through growth capital, the search for a meaningful collaboration with the brand, marriage with a bit of the general public, etc., and all of this is at the center with us.
Q. What are some of the expectations of this partnership? What are the organizations’ plans for the future of the Indian esport scene?
Vijay: In terms of expectations of this partnership, I think it is more for them than for us. We told them we can pretty much create the next layer / phase of their growth, so hopefully we can achieve that for them.
Also, like I said, when we dig deeper into the areas we start to strengthen the organization and the market around them, which you will also see us doing with the game creator economy. I think it’s too early to speak, as I’ve always been a loud ambassador to get results first and then speak.
I think our first result is already here as we have a prolific esports team and are already converting some exciting projects. Our appeal to the game creator ecosystem will be this: This is the largest creator monetization network in the country, and we’re excited to share it with you.
Q. Who do you think are the benefactors who are helping video games to become as popular as mainstream media when it comes to being a source of entertainment?
Vijay: To be honest with you, I don’t think they measure up to traditional media. For example, you only become a traditional source of entertainment when you are entertained by what you do.
For example, you will know a Virat Kohli even if you don’t watch cricket. You know or must have heard of Bhuvan Bam even if you don’t follow its content, and this is where the game needs to go.
I think it’s there as an area, but we haven’t yet seen the emergence of a player that can be used as a pop culture lexicon. This is our real attempt here. At the end of the day, we’re star makers, and our job is to make sure we bring out a few of these meaningful stars in the country.
Q. Why did The Collective Artists Network decide to venture into the Indian esports and video game industry?
Vijay: Collective Artists Network will venture into anything related to the economics of creators. So, today if it’s the game, we are there, and tomorrow if it will be something else such as travel and leisure, which has also shown great potential, we will get into that. We call ourselves the biggest designer market, and if there is an area that has the potential to grow, we will be part of it.
Q. With the 2022 Asian Games finally adding esports as a medal-winning event, what ramifications do you think this will have for the video game market in a region like Southeast Asia. Will a career in the field be more widely accepted by the masses?
Vijay: If you’ve got something like Asian Games that accepts it, I think that’s what the game needs. It used to be where people wondered how you could make money with YouTube. Yet, as I said, today with the proliferation of the internet and smartphones, every passion and hobby can be turned into a full time profession.
Once the game gets that accredited acceptance to a level where a parent won’t worry about it becoming a full-time job for their kids, I think it’s a great first step in the direction.
Q. What’s next for the Collective Artists Network? What plans does he have for the esports scene for the next five years?
Vijay: We just launched our Creator Commerce Platform in April, a mainstream branding initiative with Glance, so like I said, we’re going to be deepening and deepening the Creator Economy.
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So as things develop there, you will continue to hear announcements from us, and as I keep saying, gaming is part of that ecosystem.