Why is Esports not getting the attention it deserves in Pakistan?

Arslan Ash revamped the identity of Esports in Pakistan

By Osama Qadri
November 01, 2022
Pakistan's top Esports player Arslan Ash — Twitter/Arslan Ash

KARACHI: A rapidly expanding sector of the global economy is Esports. However, this industry is still having difficulties and has a long way to go in Pakistan.

There are several challenges that Esports is bound to face in a developing nation like Pakistan. 

Insufficient Knowledge

One of the primary factors influencing the slow growth of Esports in Pakistan is the lack of understanding and potential.

Arslan Ash, a Pakistani star who won worldwide Tekken championships after beginning his career while playing arcade games, gave a new identity to this sport in the country. 

Arslan won the EVO Japan and USA 2019 event, which raised Pakistan's profile in the Esports community, notably in the fighting game subgenre. Since then, many Pakistani athletes have joined this industry and excelled on a large scale.

One of the main reasons why Esports hasn't been given the exposure it deserves in Pakistan is the absence of it from mainstream media.

Differences in culture and stereotypes

Culture and tradition play a significant role in the lives of persons with Pakistani ancestry. They favour following traditional professional routes rather than taking on bold ones with uncertain rewards.

Due to the assistance of their parents, individuals like Arslan Ash, Sumail Hassan, and numerous others overcame societal constraints. Despite the dangers involved, many Pakistani youngsters who want to pursue unconventional professional options are sometimes rejected, resulting in a small number of people choosing such courses.

Moreover, despite the fact that no study has thoroughly demonstrated that playing video games causes any of these problems, they have long been linked to aggressive behavior, mass shootings, and destruction. Video games have been found to promote cognitive skills and boost brain capacity, despite what many people think is a clear sign of aggressive inclinations in young people.

People's judgements of gamers and their self-image problems have been influenced by social conceptions of video game players as geeks or loners with few social connections and no social life. Particularly for women, the taboo is worse because it is believed to be done to get power.

Not enough reliable resources

For prospective gamers, a lack of resources, such as a steady broadband connection, access to energy, etc., has also been a hindrance.

To play various online games, Sumail Hassan and Arslan Ash, two of the best players in the Pakistani Esports scene, could not purchase fast internet connections or the necessary gear.

Others in Pakistan possess unrivalled skills and a fierce desire to participate in global competitions. However, they cannot compete at a higher level due to a lack of financial resources, an unstable internet connection, and power problems.

Local servers are a crucial prerequisite that must be met if Esports, and competitive games, in particular, are to flourish in the nation.

Not Enough Sponsorship Opportunities

The amount of people and businesses investing in Esports has been impacted by the stigma attached to it as a mere pastime. The majority of sponsors are hesitant to contribute to competitions or events despite the availability of programs like ESPK.

Local firms and corporations often don't fund or support Pakistani Esports stars or competitions. Instances of local enterprises promoting such local talent are pretty rare.

Hardware Permissions

With most households earning less, it might be challenging for many to provide three meals daily for their family while still participating in Esports.

Esports is an expensive pastime that needs a lot of resources, time, energy, and devotion. Starting an Esports career on a PC might cost between $500 and $3,000. Costs for consoles like Xbox, PlayStation, and others range from $600 to $1500. This also discourages most individuals from participating in Esports. 

In order to promote Esports in Pakistan, it is important that corrective measures are taken bearing in mind the aforementioned factors.