India: A Unique Growth Opportunity for Mobile Esports
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November 26, 2019

India: A Unique Growth Opportunity for Mobile Esports

The fast-growing esports industry brings visuals of professional players wearing team jerseys and sitting in front of computers. However, the Asian esports market is seeing the rapid expansion of mobile gaming. An esports segment that lagged behind PC gaming for a long time but has shown healthy signs of growth with battle royale games.

Mobile Esports are digital game competitions, organized as tournaments with a spectator audience in mind on the mobile platform.

The Asian countries of India and China are leading the rapid rise of mobile esports. With a smartphone population of over 373 million and a very low penetration of mobile esports, India is a lucrative market.

India: an Exciting Market with Growth Opportunities

PUBG mobile tournaments see hundreds of participants playing in a LAN environment. | Firstpost

China is already the biggest esports market in the world, both in terms of PC and Mobile gaming. However, amidst the fierce competition in the Chinese market and the presence of heavyweights such as Tencent and Alibaba, it is difficult for game publishers to establish a foothold in the market.

Mobile Games are the highest revenue earning segment in Asia. | Newzoo

The situation is very different in neighboring India with its relatively native esports scene. While PC gaming has lagged behind their Chinese counterparts, Indian gamers are increasingly taking to mobile games like Arena of Valor, PUBG Mobile, and Call of Duty Mobile.

The increased appetite for mobile games in the Indian market shows immense potential for mobile game publishers and event organizers.

In India, with a large mobile gaming population, PUBG mobile events provided a boost to the Indian esports market.

PUBG Mobile has pulled in a lot of viewership. People are actually watching tournaments, and this is really good because at some point these people will branch out to other games like CS:GO and Dota 2, uplifting the region to a whole new level.

-Sudhen ‘Bleh’ Wahengbam to Esportsobserver

In the second-largest smartphone market, mobile games are seeing widespread acceptance due to such as faster internet speed and cheap data plans, better phone processors, and multiple uses of a mobile phone besides gaming.

Tencent makes over $7 million off PUBG Mobile in the Indian market, and the game developer hosts regular mobile esports tournaments in India. Low smartphone penetration in the Indian market presents Tencent Gaming with significant growth opportunities.

The Reasons for the Growth In Mobile Gaming in India

High Prices of PC components

India is a net importer of PC components, and the high tax rates drive up the prices of PC parts significantly. In a cost-conscious country like India, high PC prices often deter gamers from buying high-end computers.

Low-Cost Mobile Plans

Reliance Jio’s ‘big-bang’ entry in 2015 drove down the prices of telecom plans. With free calls and faster internet speeds, Reliance Jio rose to the position of a market leader within 4 years. It owns a 30.26% market share in 2019.

Increase in Internet Speed and Penetration

Newzoo

Jio’s entry in the Indian mobile telecom market ushered in faster internet speeds while reducing lag and latency benefitting Indian mobile gamers. Better performance and low cost of cellular data plans have resulted in mobile gaming’s rapid rise in the Indian market.

Indian mobile users have downloaded Battle Royale games 100 million times, according to nikopartners.com.

Despite having a massive mobile phone user base, India’s smartphone penetration in the mobile market is still low and presents a unique growth opportunity for game publishers. With a young population, MNCs are often competing for the Indian consumer market.

The percentage of mobile users with smartphones. | Statista

Improved Performance by New Mobiles

New mobile phones come with improved graphics and better processing power, allowing them to run graphic-intensive games with ease. Phone companies are also adding features like Liquid Cooling to improve heat dissipation to combat heating issues in the new phones. Better performance by mobile phones, optimized for gaming is a draw for the young Indian consumer.

International Esports Organizations Enter the Indian Market

Fnatic entered the Indian esports market in 2019. | Fnatic Instagram

The Indian esports market suffered a massive setback when a professional esports player was caught using cheats during an international CS:GO LAN event. With the lull in the esports industry following this incident and the departure of OpTic Gaming, things looked bleak for the Indian esports industry.

Esports event organizers such as DreamHack and ESL are regularly hosting events in India. Fnatic and Team Vitality have announced investments in the Indian esports market. The mobile esports scene is growing rapidly in India, and esports companies are scurrying to.

Written by Rohan Samal

Featured Image: OneSky

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