MUMBAI, July 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
It's well documented that India is in the midst of a full-scale digital revolution. A rising middle class with more disposable income together with increased accessibility and usage of smartphones has meant that India is now one of the top five countries in the world for mobile gaming. Experts estimate that India's mobile games market will be worth $1.1 billion by 2020, and the number of mobile gamers growing to 628 million over the same period.
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Online gaming as well as competitive online gaming or esports is facing a similar rise in popularity. By 2021, the number of online gamers will grow to 310 million, while there are already four million esports enthusiasts in India alone - thousands are turning out to watch gamers play live and millions more are watching online.
However, the popularity of gaming is not solely restricted to video games. Over the last year, 'mind games' or games of skill like online poker have exploded in India, so much so that PokerStars - the world's largest online poker brand owned by The Stars Group - has now licensed the brand and platform for the Indian region to Sachiko Gaming. PokerStars India also recently announced a partnership with GPL India to host the country's first long-run poker league.
Held over a two-month period, free qualification for the inaugural tournament is already underway, with players competing for the chance to join one of GPL India's six city-based, first-year teams. Each team is led by a well-renowned professional poker player, and the winning team will move on to the GLP India finals to play for the title and five Platinum Passes to the PokerStars Championship in January 2019 and an additional prize pool of $10 million.
With free qualification, the tournament is largely motivated by the idea of fierce competition, and in bringing this tournament to India, GPL is effectively 'sportifying' the game of poker - allowing players to pit their wits against one another in what is arguably a game of extreme skill. A far cry from the stereotypical image of poker being played in dingy casinos - an image the gaming companies are keen to temper - the competitive online poker space is a game of keen intelligence, mathematics and quick decision-making; of complex calculations, combination and permutations. Of course luck plays a small part, but luck alone does not deliver the consistent wins necessary for competition.
In traditional, professional sports like football, basketball and cricket, athletes are paid to compete. In esports, gamers earn a wage from tournament proceedings. Online poker is no different, and just like traditional athletes, professional poker players have to dedicate their lives to practice and skills honing. While the prize pool in poker is no doubt attractive, the online poker scene has reached a stage where players are competing just as much for glory as they are competing for money.
The Global Player League is a competitive gaming, poker and esports league with 30 teams all over the world. The GPL began life as the Global Poker League, promoting poker as a skilled game and sport. In 2017, it was transformed into the Global Player League, with a new focus on sportifying a multitude of new and emerging titles within the competitive gaming ecosystem today. The Global Player League is a trading name of Mediarex Group, a global sports and entertainment organisation, founded in Malta in 2012. Global Poker Index, Global Poker League, Global Player League, 'We Sportify Poker', and 'The Cube', are registered trademarks of Mediarex Group in the U.S. and other territories.
PR & Communications Director
Mediarex Enterprises Ltd