Nimish Raut calls Indian esports a "joke"


AFK Gaming

Former Fnatic India Head Calls Indian Esports a “Joke”

Nishant Patel
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Nimish Raut took to Instagram late last night to slam the Indian esports industry calling it a joke
He tagged multiple industry stakeholders in his story while questioning whether Loco's announced sponsorship of official BGMI esports tournaments in 2022 was good for the Indian esports industry.
Raut, Loco and Krafton were unavailable for comments

On 4th May, Nimish “fnatic_nemo” Raut - global head of partnerships and business development at NODWIN Gaming, took to social media to slam the Indian esports industry calling it a “joke”. Nemo’s outburst comes after a recent announcement through which the Indian gaming livestream platform Loco was announced as the “powered by sponsor” of official Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) esports tournaments for 2022.

Note: Raut is the former India head of global esports organization Fnatic and is no longer associated with it in an official capacity.

Why does Raut believe Indian esports to be a joke?

At the time of writing this article, Raut was not reachable for comment. However, his Instagram story indicates that Raut believes that a portion of the media rights revenue from the Loco-BGMI esports deal should be shared with the teams in the ecosystem.

If this is done at a cost, then it’s only fair that it’s shared and if it’s done for free then how is this good for the ecosystem"
Nimish Raut, Global Head of Partnerships and Business Development, NODWIN Gaming

Nimish Raut takes to Instagram after Loco-BGMI esports sponsorship annoncement

Raut also tagged various stakeholders in the industry such as Godlike, TSM India, Penta Esports, Sky Esports, The Esports Club, NODWIN Gaming, Chemin Esports, Team Soul, Orangutan, Esports Network and yours truly. He asked whether this was good or bad for esports, while questioning the allegedly non-existent share of media rights for “teams who put on the show”.

BGMI developer Krafton led Loco’s $9M USD seed investment round in June 2021, and participated in the company’s $42M USD Series A round in March 2022. Krafton’s ownership in Loco, (currently competing with YouTube, Facebook and the recently funded Rooter, among others), could incentivize the developer to favor synergistic partnerships with its investee company over others.

However, the terms of this sponsorship are unclear and it is not known if other streaming platforms were invited/interested to bid for the spot, thereby potentially affecting price discovery of BGMI esports’ livestreaming rights.

A fan's comment on the sponsorship announcement. Translation: "Krafton's money finds its way back to Krafton"

BGMI Esports Tournaments on Loco

With Loco being announced as the “powered by sponsor 2022” for BGMI esports, several open questions have emerged. To begin with, it is unclear if the tournaments will be broadcasted exclusively on Loco or on other livestream platforms as well. Through comments on Loco’s announcement about the sponsorship, fans have been fairly vocal about their aversion to an exclusive broadcast.

Concerned fans asking about alternative broadcasts on the announcement post

It should also be noted that the Chinese mobile manufacturer, iQOO, was announced as the title sponsor for BGMI esports for 2022. Concerns about whether participants will be forced to use iQOO devices to compete in these tournaments also remain open.

Furthermore, competing livestream platform Rooter sponsors various BGMI esports organizations, who may be keen to participate in these tournaments. With Loco as the official sponsor, restrictions around participation and/or competitor branding could be imposed on Rooter-backed participants in the official BGMI esports circuit.

Raut has previously been vocal about the lack of support and/or revenue streams for esports teams in India. In an earlier interview, he even stated that “it does not make financial sense for any global team to enter the Indian market”.

AFK Gaming has reached out to Raut, Loco and Krafton and will update this story with their comments should they respond.

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Nishant is a co-founder of AFK Gaming is well versed with esports in Asia. He has an in-depth understanding of the Indian esports business ecosystem.