The top Indian and SEA esports business developments in January 2021

January signalled the beginning of an important year for stakeholders in the Asian esports ecosystem. Some have tipped 2021 as the year mobile esports goes mainstream, and all eyes will be on Asia as it is arguably ground zero for the medium.

With this in mind, here are the biggest stories in India and Southeast Asia for the month of January, in collaboration with AFK Gaming — an esports and gaming news platform based in India.

Nazara Technologies launches IPO after WestBridge Capital exit

Indian tournament organiser and media company NODWIN Gaming’s parent company, Nazara Technologies, announced plans to become the first Indian gaming-technology company to go public. The company filed papers with the Indian market regulators on January 15th. The move comes after Plutus Wealth Management LLP acquired shares worth more than 5bn INR (~£50.2m) from Westbridge Capital, marking the exit of the latter. 

Pakistan to legitimise esports by granting ‘regular sports’ status

Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Hussain announced in January that a memorandum has been signed between the Pakistan Sports Board and the Pakistan Science Foundation that will see esports receive ‘regular sports’ status.

This marks a key moment for esports in Pakistan, with Hussain adding via Twitter: “If you are interested in video games, get ready and new opportunities are waiting for you.”

Nexplay Esports signs Wild Rift roster in Southeast Asia

Filipino esports organisation Nexplay Esports signed the Wild Rift roster previously known as Aether Rift. This marks Nexplay’s complete absorption of all streamers, esports teams and influencers under the Akosi Dogie brand. 

The news comes as Riot Games ramps up its Wild Rift esports scene on the continent — a modified, mobile version of League of Legends. With a deep history of both MOBAs and mobile gaming, SEA likely has the infrastructure and player base for the new title to thrive. Organisations like Team Secret, Bigetron Esports, and Nova Esports have already announced plans to operate Wild Rift rosters from the region. 

Talon Esports announces partnership with KFC in Thailand 

Hong Kong-based esports organisation Talon Esports announced a partnership with KFC Thailand for its Arena of Valor team, dtac Talon. This is the second major sponsorship signing in recent months, with telecommunications operator dtac coming on board earlier in the month. 

Read more about the story here.

Moonton reveals partners for M2 World Championship

Moonton, the company behind mobile MOBA title, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, revealed the partners for its flagship tournament — the M2 World Championship. The partners included Samsung, Nimo, Cathay Cineplexes, Mediacorp, Secretlab, SUTL, Tumi, Singtel and Razer.  The tournament was held in Singapore with Bren Esports emerging as the champions. 

Read more about the story here. 

PGL to operate the Dota 2 Pro Circuit in SEA

Romanian tournament organiser PGL will be in charge of operating the Dota Pro Circuit events in Southeast Asia for the next two years. For the current season, PGL will run the $280k (~£205k) online event which features teams such as Fnatic, TNC and T1 among others. 

Read more about the story here.

AFK Gaming is an India-based esports media and content company that aims to provide quality and consistent coverage about teams, players, tournaments and competitive video games with a primary focus on Asia.

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