India is known to be a country that shocked the Western world time and again. The same can be said about the Indian gamers – who have their own peculiar features. We have researched the current state of the streaming and esports industry in the land of spice and cricket.
Although this may sound strange, the tastes of Indian gamers are often too unique for the Western gamers to understand. Given that India is the second most populous in the world it makes for an impressive size of the audience. Additionally, the Indian economy has shown miraculous growth over the past decades, which has directly affected the interests of the country's ordinary citizens.
At times, the Indian market is even more closed than the Chinese one
We should start by mentioning that India's peculiarities tend to be rather massive, and the sheer number of their aspects makes it quite difficult to understand the overall state of things in the country. The country follows a rather closed policy when it comes to the information, which often makes it difficult to assess the true popularity indicators of this particular market as a whole.
As for the Indian platforms used for broadcasting the championships, it should be said that these are not well-known to the general population outside of India. Aside of universally acclaimed YouTube the country also features Hotstar and Airtel Xstream as its most popular streamingplatforms.
It should be noted that these platforms are not merely gamer-oriented (like Twitch or the now-defunct Mixer) – but rather the multi-purpose ones. While the Western streaming services tend to be dedicated to a single subject, Indian ones tend to cover as many directions as possible.
As an example of market closeness, Hotstar (one of the main local streaming services) is straight out unavailable to the residents of Europe and neighboring countries. And that's while it hosts the large esports broadcasts. For example, it is being used to host ESL Gaming's streams for India.
This is yet another reminder of India being the center of attention for many companies of diverse backgrounds. The country is known to receive special versions of cars from the world's top brands, unique events and much more. This interest tends to grow with each subsequent year, while the Indian consumers become more and more valuable.
India is ruled by the mobile gaming
Given the lack of popularity of PC gaming in the country, a significant part of the audience here consists of the fans of mobile esports. It was because of this reason that the mobile version of PUBG became the most popular game in India. For the past six months, Tencent's battle royale has indeed occupied all the top spots in the popularity rankings of esports events.
PUBG Mobile World League 2020 East was the region's last big tournament. The Hindi-language broadcast has attracted 449 thousand peak viewers, which is the country's best result as of today. In particular, this mark allowed the championship to claim the third spot across the mobile esports industry, being outclassed only by MPL ID Season 5 and Free Fire World Series 2019 Rio.
Moreso, because of Indian viewers, PUBG Mobile World League 2020 East also became the overall most popular online tournament. You can find quite a number of interesting details about this event in our blog.
The other representatives of the industry (Arena of Valor, Free Fire and Mobile Legends) are at about the same level. At times the top also features the Call of Duty Warzone battle royale, as well as CS:GO and Dota 2. India was not showing much demand for the world's most popular discipline, League of Legends.
Obviously, Free Fire is doing much worse than its rival PUBG due to the sheer level of competition it is facing. The reason for this would be PUBG Mobile's intense support of esports all over the planet (and especially in Asia) ever since its release – while the Free Fire is still mostly focused on Latin America.
But the country also has its audience for the console and PC games as well. One example would be the Call of Duty Warzone streamer championship held as part of Twitch Rivals in March of this year. This further proves the status of India as the land of the most dedicated fans of the battle royale genre.
The rest of the world is interested in the Indian market
Still, this is not the only thing that's interesting about India. Nearly all the top organizations of the world are interested in its fans, while some of those organizations have already taken the first steps towards commanding the attention of Indian viewers.
Fnatic, Team SoloMid and Nova Esports have established their PUBG mobile rosters in India. And for a good reason, considering that here, just like in Brazil, a single discipline has a huge following. This makes it easier for the teams to attract the new audience using only a single local roster.
Shortly before its merger with Immortals, OpTiC Gaming also opened a division in India. At that time the team attempted to start with the CS:GO roster. But as a scandal over one of the players erupted shortly thereafter, the campaign of the “green wall” abruptly came to an end.
Mountain Dew (a popular American soda brand) has been hosting its own CS:GO tournaments, known as Mountain Dew Arena, since 2017. Additionally, ESL has own India Premiership series in the country – which includes the CS:GO, PUBG Mobile, Clash of Clans and FIFA events. At the same time, there was a major Dota 2 championship held by the German organizer – ESL One Mumbai 2019.
Disney itself took interest in the Hotstar streaming platform. Subsequently, it became known that the platform was in fact bought by Disney in order to promote its own Disney+ service in the Indian market.
Many of Indian cyberathletes are popular bloggers
When it comes to the professional PUBG Mobile players, they have a huge social network following, one that outclasses even the leading Western esports organizations. YouTube channel of the former Fnatic player Scout alone has almost 3 million fans. At the recent PUBG MOBILE Streamers Showdown Scout's personal stream attracted more viewers than the official stream of the championship itself, with only 4% peak viewers difference between the two. At the time of this article's writing, another esports player known as MortaL had nearly 6 million subscribers on his YouTube channel.
On the other side, the games popular in Europe, such as Dota 2 and CS:GO lack the stars of such caliber. Because of this, these disciplines appear to be unpopular in the scope of Indian market – although they are still boasting an impressive audience size.
According to Esports Earnings, the prize fund-based earnings of cyberathletes in India are inferior to those in Europe or America – and that's despite the abundance of tournaments. One example would be the mere $20,000 earned by the country's richest player, Mortal, throughout his whole career. Meanwhile, it is normal for an ordinary Western player to receive a similar amount of money for a single championship.
Therefore, India can be definitely seen as one of the world's leading esports countries – even in case we were to only consider the great popularity of mobile esports among the country's residents.
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