Whenever “esports” is mentioned, people tend to imagine pro players wearing team jerseys and sitting before computer screens. However, the esports scenes in many Asian countries are witnessing the rapid growth of mobile gaming. For a long time, this segment has lagged behind its PC counterpart, but it is now showing healthy signs of expansion with the rise of battle royale titles.

China and India are leading this trend. The latter especially is a lucrative market with over 373 million smartphone users and very low penetration of mobile esports.

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India currently has 373 million smartphone users

 

India: a market with plenty of opportunities

China is currently the largest esports market in the world at the moment in terms of both PC and mobile gaming. However, this means the competition here is intense and it’s very difficult for new game publishers to create a foothold for themselves, especially considering the presence of giants such as Tencent or Alibaba.

With India, the situation differs by a large margin. The esports scene in this country is still young, and while PC gaming is not particularly strong, Indian gamers are turning more and more towards mobile titles such as PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, or Arena of Valor every day.

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Many PUBG Mobile tournaments have been hosted in India, attracting millions of viewers

The increasing appetite for mobile games in the market is a massive opportunity for game developers and event organizers. Take PUBG Mobile as an example: Ever since the game first launched in March last year, its esports events in India have attracted a lot of viewership. This is really good because people who are interested in these types of events might at some point branch out to other titles such as Dota 2 or CS:GO, eventually raising the region to a new level.

Mobile games are being widely accepted in India due to multiple factors like faster and more affordable mobile internet and the fact that almost everyone owns a smartphone nowadays.

The reasons behind India’s mobile gaming growth

PC components are more expensive

High tax rates in India have pushed the prices of PC parts up by a sizable amount. This is a primary factor that deters players from getting a high-end computer.

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Gaming PCs are generally more expensive in India, which is the primary reason many gamers shy away from buying one

Affordable mobile plans

Reliance Jio’s entry into the market back in 2015 reduces the prices of telecom plans significantly. With the free calls and faster internet speed that it offers, Reliance Jio has become a leader in the market after four years. The latest statistics show that it currently owns over thirty percent of the market share.

Jio has played a crucial role in ushering in faster internet speed while at the same time reducing lag and latency, which greatly benefits mobile gamers. Better performance and cheaper cellular data plans have led to mobile gaming’s accelerated rise in India.

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Thanks to Reliance Jio, mobile internet has become much better and cheaper

Better devices

New smartphone models are being developed every day, bringing with them improved processing power and better graphics and better. This offers users many choices when it comes to devices that can run graphic-intensive games smoothly. Manufacturers are also adding gaming-focused features such as Liquid Cooling to deal with the heat issues often seen in the process. In recent years, phones optimized for gaming has become a draw for many Indian consumers.

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Many smartphones nowadays are optimized for gaming

International esports organizations are showing interests in the market

The esports scene in India suffered a devastating setback when a pro player was caught cheating in an international CS:GO tournament. This incident sent things down a lull period and with the departure of OpTic Gaming, the industry was not looking good.

But the situation seems to have improved again thanks to various events hosted by renowned organizers such as DreamHack and ESL in the country in the past year. Now, Team Vitality and Fnatic have both announced their plans to make investments in the market.