esports industry pakistan

Written by Syed Haris Shah 2:40 pm Pakistan Unveiled

The Thriving Esports Industry of Pakistan

The esports industry in Pakistan has the potential of becoming a success story as both domestic and international companies have been investing in the gaming ecosystem. Being home to leading gamers and players of e-sports, the author, Syed Haris Shah, opines that Pakistan’s commitment to the esports industry would soon bear fruit by creating multiple job opportunities for the youth.
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About the Author(s)
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Syed Haris Shah is a pupil of peace and conflict studies at National Defence University, Islamabad.

Gaming Ecosystem

The esports industry is one of the leading digital industries of the globe, worth billions of dollars. Unlike traditional sports, esports includes entertainment and gaming competitions based on platforms like PCs (or gaming computers), consoles like Xbox and PlayStation, and smartphones. It is believed that the world’s first-ever competition of esports was conducted at Stanford University in 1972.

Gaming on computers, consoles or mobile phones has provenly become a part of varsity sports inside the 600 universities of the United States. The esports industry is growing not only in the states of the West but also in the East like Japan, India, China, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan. Gamers and players of esports in Pakistan are being motivated by several leading gaming personalities and from social media groups like “Pakistani PC Gamers” on Facebook.

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A Game Worth Fighting For

Pakistan has the potential to bring global spending and finances from digital platforms of freelancing and e-commerce, and similarly, the gaming industry and esports industry in Pakistan would be able to accommodate the demand of youth for employment. Pakistan ranks as the 11th top country with spending from esports. There is no hidden truth in the point that government officials of Pakistan have also realized the prospects for professional gaming.

Pakistan’s Minister of Science and Technology Fawad A. Chaudhary stated on his official Twitter account that “E-sports will be [a] new sensation in Pakistan and the region exciting framework is in the offing”. Mr. Chaudhary also later announced in a tweet that the Pakistan Science Foundation and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to make esports a category in all of the other sports of Pakistan.

He also stated his concerns over the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority’s (PTA) ban of some applications and mobile games as well as some internet websites and services important for esports, stating that their actions and bans will ultimately destroy the tech industry of Pakistan, impacting esports the most.

Turning the Tide in Pakistan

Some of the famous electronic games include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Battlefield, Call of Duty (COD), Overwatch, and Players Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG); they come under the category of first-person shooter or third-person shooter games. The category of sports-based games includes Pro-Evolution Soccer (PES), FIFA, and the Need for Speed (NFS). There are also multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games like DOTA 2 and League of Legends as well as fighting games like Tekken.

The five most popular e-sport video games in Pakistan are DOTA 2, game series of Call of Duty, FIFA, Need for Speed, and Counter-Strike. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive can be played on low-end PCs. PUBG mobile has also geared up to the stage of competitions, remaining popular among amateur players as well as leading gaming streamers in Pakistan.

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Players & Streamers

The list of leading professional gamers of Pakistan comes with the name of Sumail Hassan on the top, having his gaming alias as “SumaiL”. He used to play DOTA 2 in internet cafes, but his fortune changed when he moved to the United States and became one of the leading gamers of Pakistani descent in North America’s elite gaming platforms.

He is also the top-earning player of esports from Pakistan, with a fortune of US$ 3.8 million. Yawar Hassan, the older brother of Sumail Hassan, is the second-highest earning esports player from Pakistan. He has also sustained his position of being one of the best players in the MOBA-based game of DOTA 2. His earnings are said to have been more than one hundred thousand dollars in 2021.

Arsalan Siddique is the third leading esports player from Pakistan who is famous for winning titles in Tekken and the King of Fighters. He beat the world’s leading gamers in EVO Japan in 2019. There are a number of other leading esports professional players and gamers famous with their gaming tags including ShaWal 77, Godzilla, Adam9130, Sharky, HSB, Crypto, Blade, Waleed, Saif 4U, Ibrar and many others.

The list of gaming streamers is contributing to bringing Pakistan’s name to top platforms for streaming like Twitch and YouTube. With over 95 thousand subscribers on YouTube, Qaiser Khan or Qayzer gets millions of views by playing free roam games like Grand Theft Auto V. KhanSaab69 is another leading gaming streamer and Youtuber who gets more than 10 million views on his streaming videos of games.

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Female streamers aren’t behind in the gaming industry either, as Amber Iqbal, with the gaming alias Merciless Medic, has around 133 thousand subscribers. She is also one of the leading gaming streamers of PUBG from Pakistan.

Rise in Startups

Google has launched its first Gaming Growth Lab to assist startups that are already producing gaming applications for android phones and organizing competitions with support from local and international sponsors inside Pakistan.

There are platforms like “The Manifest” that are providing support for developers who are interested in both developing games and choosing esports as professions inside Pakistan.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article/paper are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Paradigm Shift.

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