After we've seen the likes of Lenovo appropriate India's bubbling e-sports scene to sell laptops, it's now the turn of India's answer to Amazon to stake a claim in competitive gaming in the nation.
Flipkart has announced it will have a month long tournament featuring FIFA, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, and Dota 2. Dubbed the Flipkart Online Gaming Championship (FGOC), it will take place online and be live streamed on Amazon-owned Twitch from June 3 to July 11.
"Globally, gaming is considered as one of the key pillars of Internet economy. In India, gaming is a niche but a fast evolving and growing segment especially in the metros. At Flipkart we have witnessed close to 50 percent growth in this category in the last six months alone," said Adarsh K Menon, Vice President, Electronics and Auto at Flipkart in a prepared statement. "Our goal is to become the largest destination for both gamers as well as gaming product brands and also contribute towards developing the Indian gaming ecosystem. Brands like Alienware, Dell, Sony, and Microsoft are already witnessing tremendous growth on our platform in their gaming portfolio and we expect this demand to double in the next six months."
It appears to be a remarkable change of affairs considering that last year, the company was looking to exit gaming altogether after a few poor quarters. Nonetheless, its claims of 50 percent growth is debatable to say the least according to several sources in the supply chain.
"Flipkart and Amazon make up around 30 percent of the market for games," a sub distributor explains to Gadgets 360. "In terms of supplying through their own agents, WS Retail for Flipkart and Cloud Tail for Amazon, they're almost on par with a five or 10 percent difference. But the moment you include marketplace sales, Amazon easily has it beat."
No greater proof of this is seen than in the sales of PS4 exclusive Uncharted 4. According to those close to both marketplaces, the game sold 4,500 on Amazon and around 1,500 on Flipkart - making the difference a whole lot vaster.
And while it's admirable for the site to claim that FGOC exists to "offer the growing gaming community and gaming enthusiasts a platform to connect with each other and explore the best games that are available in the Indian market", Flipkart's tournament has the likes of FIFA - a game that's not even officially available on its storefront.
This is because Amazon has sole exclusivity on all games from publisher EA which includes FIFA. Meanwhile Dota 2 and League of Legends are free to play, making Counter-Strike: Global Offensive the only one available and that too, since it's one of the most widely played games in the country, we wonder how much more exposure Indian gamers need to it.
Nonetheless, we've reached out to Flipkart for comment. But as it stands, it seems that the company is woefully disconnected from market realities.