There is no denying that PUBG Mobile took the world by storm, and the game thrived like none other in the Indian subcontinent. It all started with multiplayer games, wherein people could play alongside each other, match against their friends, and have fun. One of the very first multiplayer games that left people hooked up was Mini Militia, where people’s virtual character donned tiny soldier costumes and enjoyed the thrills of knocking down the opponent with guns and grenades, thus making Swiss cheese of their friends!
But the audience still craved for a game wherein you could have end to end but realistic stuff, something that could be a fusion of GTA and Counter-Strike. It was almost every gamer’s dream to have a game in which you could do it all. And boom: there it was, the first of its kind, a Battle Royale game the fans had been craving for PUBG. The best part about the game?
Anyone could play it without high tech gadgets and become a pro at it! All you needed was a touch screen mobile phone which is found in every other person’s pocket. Eventually, although virtually, Pochinki became the most visited place in the world.
The hype was such that PUG mobile registered a whopping 100 million downloads in its first week, which is five times the amount of downloads PUBG PC and Fortnite registered in their opening week globally. The game now has more than 600 million downloads in 2020, and the number is continually rising due to the “stay at home culture” that has come to dominate our daily lives.
The Masterstroke of Reliance in India
The 2G spectrum, the biggest scam in the history of Independent India, said to be worth more than 37 billion dollars, brought fortune to many who were avid internet users. The telecom industry is battling to revive itself from this crisis, and the period of affordable data packs led to the smartphone market’s growth. Reliance’s introduction of JIO was nothing less than a revolution.
Eventually, more people commenced using the Internet, and social media became a big hit. The makers of PUBG: Tencent Gaming, couldn’t have possibly sought a better time to launch the game in India than March 2017.
India always has exciting relationships with the G’s, from Parle G to 4G. But the launch of 3G is proved to be a catalyst for the Indians to witness what a fast Internet is all about. The smartphone market boom was not only responsible for the mobile phone industry in India but also multi-folded the M-commerce (digital transaction) industry, leading to digitalization. Today, India is one of the promised lands of m-commerce, with many developed nations looking up to it.
The Rise of PUBG in Several Countries
Globally, the gaming industry is worth more than $100 billion. And India is undoubtedly the market many sports companies are looking to capture. Unlike North American culture, games like Fortnite and CS GO did not flourish as they would have expected in India. But, PUBG Mobile breathed fresh air in the Indian community.
Moreover, because the game was easily accessible, it immediately became a hit amongst college students. Post the launch of PUBG mobile, there has been a nearly ten times increase in mobile game downloads. And the active mobile gaming population is crossing the 200+ million mark in India. Moreover, it is expecting to reach 450 Million+ by 2021.
The rise of PUBG Mobile also paved the way for many other games like Fortnite, LoL, DOTA 2, etc. Until then, only the shouts of “fire in the hole” or Martin Tyler’s and Alan Smith’s commentary echoed majorly from the college hostels.
Population Benefiting The Game And Viewership
One in every 4-5 people plays PUBG Mobile in India. Moreover, its effects are visible in terms of viewership for the tournaments. PUBG Mobile Club Open (PMCO) and PUBG Mobile India Series (PMIS) have a steady 60-80k concurrent viewership (almost 4-5 million views per match).
In North America, the audience size is less than India’s. So India is recording more viewership thanks to the country having 2nd largest population in the world. Indian players like Scout and Mortal have 60-70k views on streams. It is similar to what Ninja has, not forgetting he is a world-renowned streamer. PUBG Mobile India is truly in a league of its own!
The Obstacles for PUBG Mobile In India
This game has a significant influence not only on their children’s upbringing but also on their professional decisions. Families in several countries share their concerns when children step out of the traditional routes. And the video games and escorts have become a source of contention in the Indian community because of the negative stereotypes attached to them by more conventional sectors of society.
India and other developing countries adapt things a little later than other developed countries. One such tragic incident occurred in 2019, where no visa stated that the export players are classified as professional athletes.
The victims of this were Team IND, Indian Tigers, and Team SouL, who were left stranded here in India and were not able to attend the PUBG Mobile Club open in Berlin. The North American market has many established teams in escorts; whereas escorts and gaming empowerment is in a transition phase in particular developing countries (Brazil, Vietnam, India, etc.)
However, with encouraging investments, things are bound to get better while it is a long journey.
Team Soul: PUBG Mobile Club Open India Finals
An Untapped Market
PUBG Mobile did gain its popularity in India, the tech, device compatibility, or the Internet is no longer a hurdle. But there are still some mountains the Indian market is yet to climb. However, with one such major obstacle being monetizing the growth through the influx of new and existing users.
The market is yet to be breached in terms of revenue generation. However, a few are willing to spend on a Royal Pass and in-app purchases. The only constant source of reliable income has been google ads and subscriptions. It certainly enough that isn’t given the volume of users PUBG mobile has generated.
A new strategy to tap into the market to generate revenue is the need of the hour in the subcontinent gaming industry.
The Road Ahead
With many teams/organizations willing to invest in India to find the next Mortal and Scout. They are promising with no shortage of young, fresh talent. TSM’s collaboration with Entity is one such example of a successful fan favorite organization. With Team Liquid rumored to be picking the roster for Godlike. You can sense that a fierce battle of escort’s fans is not far from taking the community by storm. The audience in India has witnessed something like never before, and they are still craving for more.
Now it’s PUBG Mobile that has to ensure that they have enough gas in the tank to go all the way to ensure that it’s a market that can not only boom. But the sound of that can echo for many more years to come.
The road for PUBG mobile, especially in India, does look bright, with the audience it has gathered and with interest in the competitive tournament the country has shown. But they certainly need to fill in a few potholes of revenue generation, streams, and hackers.