Currently, more than 400 million people in India own a smartphone, making it one of the biggest smartphone markets in the world - second only to China. India’s population is also the second-highest in the world at roughly 1.3 billion. However, PC and console gaming have never had much of a presence in the country. Smartphones, on the other hand, have played a crucial part in bringing video games to the Indian public, and battle royale titles such as PUBG Mobile or Garena Free Fire are leading the way.

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Smartphones have been a key factor in bringing video games to the Indian public

Initially released in March last year, PUBG Mobile instantly became a massive hit in India. As of September 2019, it was the biggest mobile game in the country in terms of the number of downloads and revenue.

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PUBG Mobile is the biggest mobile game in India at the moment

Garena Free Fire is yet another major name in the market as well, and its popularity is due a large part to its ability to run on lower-end smartphones, making it accessible to a wider range of audiences. In fact, Free Fire has been so successful that it has prompted Tencent to make PUBG Mobile Lite, a compressed version of PUBG Mobile that was designed for weaker devices. That game came out in July, but it has already contributed to over a third of PUBG Mobile’s downloads in India.

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Garena Free Fire is another popular Battle Royale in India thanks to its accessibility

That said, not everyone in the country is happy about the rise of these games. For most of 2019, PUBG Mobile’s popularity has made it a target of criticism from many Indian parents and government officials who are saying that it’s causing violence and poor academic results among young people. Some cities have even gone as far as to forbid the playing of the game in public.