Amit Jain discusses Team Vitality’s expansion and navigating the Indian market 

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Despite being relaxed six months later PUBG Mobiles Ban in India, the country’s esports stretch is gradually returning to its former glory after the introduction of Battlegrounds Mobile India.

As titles like VALORANT, Free Fire, and Call of Duty: Mobile grow in popularity, BGMI’s reputation in the region is still unmatched. However, the PUBG Mobile ban has certainly slowed growth, with big names like Fnatic decided to cease operations in the region.

Even so, Fnatic has vowed to reevaluate and re-enter the Indian esports scene in due course and assures fans that it will be around for the long term. TSM FTX continues to be a dominant force in the region with rosters in both BGMI and Free Fire.

Amit Jain discusses Team Vitalitys expansion and navigating the Indian - Amit Jain discusses Team Vitality’s expansion and navigating the Indian market 
Photo credit: Team Vitality

RELATED: Duy Nguyen Named Head of Business Development for Team Vitality

French esports organization team vitality came onto the market after the PUBG Mobile ban. As a result, the company had to access and understand the ecosystem without its most popular game.

AFK Gaming sat down on behalf of Esports Insider Amit Jaina, the CEO of Team Vitality’s parent company Rewired.gg, to understand what he thinks of the region and why the eSports organization decided to expand into India.

Why India is an important part of Team Vitality’s strategy

With nearly € 34m (~ £ 29.4m) poured into the organization, Rewired has enabled Team Vitality to become a much more global brand. Team Vitality, which currently has cadres in over 10 titles, announced in November 2019 during its donation round of 14 million.

Almost a year later, the organization formalized its arrival on the subcontinent after hiring four content creators to represent the brand in the region. In March 2021, it took its first competitive list out of the region and chose to become one of the first “big” organizations involved in Call of Duty: Mobile. Jain explains that India’s large population alone was a major draw for the organization.

Amit Jain discusses Team Vitalitys expansion and navigating the Indian - Amit Jain discusses Team Vitality’s expansion and navigating the Indian market 
Amit Jain, the CEO of Team Vitality’s parent company, Rewired.gg. Photo credit: Team Vitality

“It’s a big market with a growing economy and we expect India to have a huge market share in the gaming and esports industries,” he said.

Jain’s Indian background and roots made choosing Team Vitality even easier, as one of the first names to try to expand into the region. In contrast to globally established names like Cloud 9 or Fnatic, Vitality has always been viewed as a French and European organization with a limited presence in other places. When asked if this made expansion difficult, Jain said that from an Indian perspective it was any other Western organization.

Jain added, “It depends on the strategy – how you penetrate the market, how you attract the audience, how you relate to the local audience.” However, he is also aware of the organization’s French heritage, which he believes played an important role in their value system.

“E-sports is our core business”

Team Vitality has shown great interest in working with Indian content creators to maximize its regional reach and as an Indian organization to build relationships with fans and brands alike.

The list included popular streamers like Live Insaan, Classified YT, Mili Kya Mili, and Rachitroo. The contents of the new list from Team Vitality received millions of hits and also attracted a lot of media attention.

However, the core focus of the organization is always in the area of ​​eSports. However, the plans were hit hard after PUBG Mobile was banned in India. Jain commented, “To be honest, the PUBG ban affected us more than COVID as that was the title around which we developed our entire strategy for India, including starting with some of the content creators and influencers. ”

Still, the organization managed to adapt to the changing dynamics of the Indian marketplace and now has one of the best Call of Duty: Mobile rosters in the region.

1638993793 546 Amit Jain discusses Team Vitalitys expansion and navigating the Indian - Amit Jain discusses Team Vitality’s expansion and navigating the Indian market 
Photo credit: Team Vitality

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Almost two years have passed since Team Vitality first announced its intention to enter the Indian esports landscape.

When asked about the challenges western companies face when entering the market, Jain said, “Most western esports are all-round PC or console games. PC was the dominant platform, while most of Asia and Southeast Asia are geared towards mobile devices. That’s a big difference at the beginning.

“The quality of mobile devices also plays a role in mobile. For example, if we look at PUBG Mobile versus Call of Duty Mobile, both games have certain mobile specifications. “

Building a sustainable model

Jain went on to elaborate on the fact that esports is still not seen as a viable career option in India and a lack of infrastructure and money makes it even more difficult for overseas organizations. This is something that organizations like Team Vitality are preparing to create a sustainable future.

“Aside from just competitive gaming, streaming and branding, there are many other areas where we can get a large share of sales. Because of this, we set out to create awareness from the ground up, rather than just building a high-caliber professional team, ”said Jain.

With these campaigns, Team Vitality aims to change the mindset of Indian households towards esports which has been one of the main obstacles to the growth of the community.

After TSM and Fnatic, Vitality is the third international top tier organization to set foot in the Indian esports landscape. Jain thinks that being one of the early movers in the market certainly means “direct recognition”. However, he also reiterated how the team’s performance matters and how well the organization is doing at branding.

While the organization wants to stay connected to its Indian roots, Jain shares that Team Vitality will influence the community with its performance-driven mindset for the better. Team Vitality will also seek to provide a mix of culture and capitalize on what the company has accumulated during its successful run in CS: GO and other popular PC titles.

Jain stated, “We have a French heritage and what we have learned over the years we want to pass that knowledge on to India, the gaming community and our players.”

Amit Jain discusses Team Vitalitys expansion and navigating the Indian - Amit Jain discusses Team Vitality’s expansion and navigating the Indian market 

Growing organically through local sponsorship

Localizing, understanding the culture and religion, getting to know different demographics and hiring people in these regions were very important key steps in setting foot in a regional market. “If you have to conquer India, you have to think like India and understand the Indians very well,” said Jain.

Vitality works with a wide variety of sponsors, only a limited number of which have operations or branding in India. Therefore, Jain believes there will be a mix of local and global partnerships for Team Vitality going forward.

He explained: “Our global partners who are not present in India want to enter the market with us. At the same time, we are also in advanced talks with various Indian brands who are very interested in working with us and developing completely new strategies for them in India for everything to do with esports and the gaming community. “

Balancing PC and mobile fan bases

Over the years, Team Vitality has built its core fan base around PC esports titles, which often makes retrieving mobile roster a hit or miss experience. Jain said, “We felt that this was affecting ourselves as well, and there was an internal debate. The main problem was that Vitality is a very serious esports company as opposed to coming to India with more casual gaming related brands in esports where gaming is still largely a recreational activity. ”

1638993793 393 Amit Jain discusses Team Vitalitys expansion and navigating the Indian - Amit Jain discusses Team Vitality’s expansion and navigating the Indian market 
Photo credit: Team Vitality

RELATED: Team Vitality hires former Paris Saint-Germain GM to improve performance structure

He continued, “I think Vitality will keep in touch with fans for the long term if we continue to perform well in India and maintain our philosophy of achieving and delivering world class performance along with quality fan entertainment.”

Jain also reiterated that PC and mobile spaces also have different fan bases. So if there is a backlash in the early stages, it won’t be a huge problem in the long run.

With immediate effect, Vitality plans to further increase its brand awareness through its content creators. The organization announced its Call of Duty: Mobile roster in March 2021, made up of the former players from S8UL, one of the leading domestic esports organizations. The roster has shown some impressive results in A-tier tournaments, the most illuminating of which is a runner-up in the Call of Duty Mobile World Championship 2021 – South Asia & Middle East.

The organization also has long term goals including helping the overall growth of Indian esports. “We want to make Vitality a brand that Indians love, that Indians can connect with and that can help develop the gaming or esports ecosystem in the country,” Jain concluded.


This story was made in collaboration with. written AFK Gaming. It is an India-based esports media and content company committed to providing high quality and consistent coverage of teams, players, tournaments and competitive video games with a focus on the Asian region.

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