NRAI working with MPL to launch virtual shooting game
New Delhi: The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has collaborated with online gaming platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) to develop a mobile version of a shooting game, hoping that it evokes interest among masses for the real sport outside the virtual world.
The game is slated to be released on August 15. It is a simulator style, non-violent shooting game with International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) style trap and skeet formats.
The NRAI will also organize, COVID-19 pandemic permitting, hybrid tournaments around Independence Day where the best virtual shooters will be selected for training by prominent shooting champions in India.
"We are pleased to be developing a non-violent Olympic-style shooting game with MPL. We will use this shooting simulator game to create interest, educate and train an audience of millions of internet users about the physical sport of shooting," said NRAI president Raninder Singh.
"We will also be hosting tournaments where the best virtual shooters get a chance to compete and participate in physical shooting. Online engagement will feed into offline interest, which in turn will open the doors of our sport to many more Indians," he added.
The NRAI also welcomed the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) recent esports push to bridge the gap between physical and virtual sports.
The recent announcement by the IOC to partner with five international sports federations and game publishers to launch the inaugural Olympic Virtual Series (OVS) is being seen as a welcome move for the Indian Esports industry.
This will be the first e-shooting game where the virtual game will adhere to the rules and principles set by the IOC and the ISSF.
To be held ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, the OVS will begin on May 13 and end on June 23.
The OVS will mobilise esports enthusiasts from all around the world to reach a new Olympic audience.
"We welcome the IOC's move to introduce virtual esport versions of real world physical sport in the inaugural Olympic Virtual Series. We are sure this will encourage people to take up these sports virtually and potentially chart a way for them to emerge as champions in the physical sport," said Raninder.
NRAI believes that virtual versions of Olympic-style shooting sports will help evoke interest among the masses and could serve as a gateway to people looking to enter the real sport.
Olympic medallist shooter Gagan Narang said, "India has never had a dearth of talent in shooting, and the recently concluded World Cup is a strong validation of the potential.
"As I have realised, technology is increasingly playing an important role in improving player performances, and amplifying the experience.
"Initiatives as envisioned by NRAI and ably supported by MPL will not only enhance player engagement, but critically increase fan awareness about competitive sports. India needs many more such interventions across sports," he added.
Industry data shows that there is a lot of appetite for target shooting games in India, especially for a mobile-first audience. On MPL alone, since November 2020, over 17 million gameplays were recorded for MPL's target shooting titles, with 13 million alone coming from its archery game.
Sai Srinivas, co-founder and CEO of MPL, which aims to take esports to the masses via mobile, said, "This is a monumental step taken by IOC to introduce the first ever Olympic-licensed virtual series.
"NRAI was already a first mover in recognising the potential for e-shooting. Esports has witnessed a meteoric rise in India over the past few years and is recognised as a proper sporting career path in many regions of the world.
"An IOC-approved tournament announced before the Olympics will certainly help Esports get its due and encourage people to consider it as a professional option.