PUBG Mobile has recently been taking India by storm, thriving in the subcontinent and giving birth to an entirely new ecosystem of content creators, event organisers, players, teams and talent. As an esport in the region, PUBG Mobile is king; titles such as Dota 2 and CS:GO (which are popular globally), taking a back seat. This boom has not gone unnoticed by esports stakeholders, and the future for the mobile PUBG title is looking bright.
It’s clear that PUBG Mobile has taken India by storm in recent times, the mobile title having thrived in the subcontinent, giving birth to a brand new ecosystem of content creators, tournament organisers, players, organisations, and talent. Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive previously formed the pillars of what was a small Indian esports community for a long time, but the recent entry of PUBG Mobile has tipped the scales heavily.
The incentive to execute PUBG Mobile events has grown much higher as the footfall and the viewership for those are significantly larger than what is expected from a traditional esport. Esports organisations too, have realized that there is a huge gap in the market to be explored and a huge fan base that could be tapped when it comes to PUBG Mobile. It would be arguably foolish at this point, for any Indian esport organisations to not have a PUBG Mobile roster. While PUBG Mobile’s rise to the top certainly may seem surprising, (especially in comparison to the global esports landscape), the conditions and existing infrastructure in India looks like very fertile ground for similar mobile titles.
India has a population of 1.3B people, nearly one-fifth of the total population of the Earth itself, and looks set to become the most populated country in the world by 2024/25 based on current projections. One thing that sets India apart is the fact that 50% of the population is below the age of 25, and 65% of those are below the age of 35. For any esports marketer, this is a dream scenario as a younger demographic means better purchasing power, adequate disposable income, and an affinity for trends and new products.
Improving infrastructure has led to cheaper access to the internet in India which has further accelerated PUBG Mobile’s growth in the country. Between 2017 and 2018, India exhibited an annual growth of ~18% in internet users, and so far in 2019 has 451M active internet users, which is the second-highest in the world. To put it another way, there are more active internet users in India than the total population of the United States, (~327M people in 2018).
This recent boom has been reflected in the streaming market online also. For example, popular Indian streamer ‘Dynamo’ added nearly 240K subscribers on YouTube in the month of September alone, while MortaL increased his tally by an impressive 190K.
PUBG Mobile and India are hopefully set and expected to enjoy a long-lasting and successful relationship and at this point almost all industry stakeholders are optimistic about (and aware of) the current situation there. Recent rumours about children becoming addicted has had somewhat of a negative impact on PUBG Mobile’s popularity in India, with calls being made to ban the game in certain regions. However, despite this adversity the game has continued to flourish and has opened up new doors for an entire generation. It will be interesting to see in which direction the game develops throughout the subcontinent in the coming years.
For now however, PUBG Mobile remains the king of videogames in India and has had a tangible impact on the lives of an entire generation. With big plans on the horizon, both in-game and in the world of esports, PUBG Mobile’s future seems solid for the foreseeable future.
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