Wired News reports:
Add another category to India’s intensifying regional competition with China: online gaming.
Tangible progress will be marked by the first Indian participation in the Electronic Sports World Cup, which kicks off June 30 in Paris. Earlier this month, 162 regional qualifiers from nine Indian cities came to New Delhi — including 8-year-old Rohan Karir, a TrackMania prodigy — to compete for 10 tickets to Paris and a shot at some of the $400,000 ESWC prize money. All told, more than 20,000 Indians competed, making it one the biggest national gaming tournaments ever.
The number of connections increased by more than half between 2004 and 2005, from 25 million to 39 million. Sanjay Trehan, head of broadband at Indiatimes Online, predicts that by next year the numbers will more than double, possibly climbing as high as 100 million. Crucial for the growth of online gaming, 60 percent of these new connections will be broadband (defined in India as 256 Kbps and higher).
Not a few of these new broadband links are found in India’s 100,000 internet cafes, which now derive between 30 percent and 40 percent of their revenues from online gamers. The growing appetite for gaming has led one internet cafe chain, Sify, to launch a broadband-only, gaming-oriented cafe brand called Game Drome, which both hosts and promotes local and national competitions.