Of late, ad-supported streaming service Voot has dabbled with broadcasting e-sports events such as the PUBG Mobile Campus Championships and ESL One Hamburg 2018. It seems that the Viacom18-owned platform wants to add features not too dissimilar to what streaming giant Twitch has. At Dreamhack 2018, Sidharth Kedia, Head – Corporate Strategy, M&A, Data Sciences and Deputy Chief Commercial Officer for Viacom18 told Gadgets 360 that it’s considering to add chat and integrated gameplay to Voot by next year, buoyed by the early success of its e-sports streams featuring PUBG Mobile, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Dota 2. In addition to its general entertainment offerings, Voot has its eyes on being a platform to showcase e-sports in its entirety. This could be an interesting move considering Twitch while having an India presence, is far from active in the country.
“We’re going to bring features like chat, integrated gameplay, into Voot once we’re fully into e-sports,” says Kedia. “This is a POC [proof of concept] phase for three to six months. We’ve put a development plan in place where by the end of 2019 we have all the essential components that are required for a platform to showcase e-sports in its true and entire form.”
Kedia tells us that company is still considering “whether non-e-sports users on Voot are even looking for a chat platform there” which should let those interested in watching Pokemon or Voot’s originals without the added interactivity breath a sigh of relief for now.
Furthermore, he also let slip that the Voot is looking at putting its e-sports content behind a paywall.
“If we add a paywall in Voot, then we will evaluate whether e-sports as a category will also go behind the paywall,” he says.
As for which game stream has been the most popular for the service so far, there are no surprises.
“PUBG was maximum, because it’s popular in India,” he says. “Dota 2 surprised us we got pretty good viewership. CS: GO what we expected we got. For us, proof of the pudding is to see how some of the India events do on Voot. So far other than PUBG the Dota 2 and CS:GO events were international events broadcasted in English in India. With that and with Dreamhack we’re confident that the Indian events we showcase are going to be fairly popular.”
Given YouTube Gaming’s eventual demise, with its features being rolled into YouTube proper and Twitch’s lack of enthusiasm, it leaves the likes of Voot with an opportunity to capitalise on what appears to be a vibrant user base of gamers.