6 Effects of PUBG mobile on the Indian Gaming ecosystem

Benefits of PUBG addiction happened to India

The addiction and keenness for gaming were grooming in between people for a long time. The addition of playing online games may become popular about a short period ago, but the offline games already had made their footsteps clearly on the Indian youth population. The college and university level competitions on Counter-Strike, Need for speed, and FIFA are the biggest example of that interest.

But, playing video games is often considered as a pass time activity only, even investing too much time in video games may end up with the impression on others about you, that you are lazy, introvert, unsocial and what not. Kids and teenagers often have to face scolding from elders because of the gaming habit. Even if that kid has a great talent and potential to become a professional level gamer, almost no such parents in India who supports gaming as a full-time job.

Effect of PUBG on the Indian Gaming ecosystem

Even if we do talk about gaming, considering it a pass time activity only, there also been a big problem, as it is being considered a very costly activity. As a gaming PC or consoles (XBOX, PlayStation) are tend to be very costly. The video games itself also do cost a lot of money. So, affording playing games is not everyone’s cup of tea. But after PUBG, FortNite came into existence many things have changed. PUBG and FortNite both demands very affordable hardware to play and ultra-gaming PC is not needed at all. Both of the games are free to play also, which brought the gaming to the lower middle-class players too. As PUBG has a much bigger fan base, hence, we are about to talk about PUBG game only in this article.

Improvement in Data Connectivity

data connection pubg

However, now most of the Indian players are truly addicted to PUBG, and of course thanks to affordable, good quality broadband access all over the country. As PUBG is a completely online multiplayer game, the success which it earned would not have been possible if it was released 10 years ago. The success of this game is clearly an inflection point for the Indian gaming industry, especially in the increasing number of video gamers.

A couple of months back, I was traveling from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata and I played PUBG in the bus for whole night from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata. I thought I would be able to play until the bus crosses the border of Bhubaneswar as the game requires a high-speed network connection to play seamlessly. But it took me by surprise as I ended up playing for almost six straight hours through the night while the bus traveled through rural areas of Orissa and West Bengal – and the game worked seamlessly. It was an example of how India is now truly well connected through the internet, without the broadband connection this kind of service was unimaginable a couple of years earlier. When Reliance Jio rolled out with its 4G Data network nationwide at an affordable price and good quality service and in turn slashed wireless data connection as well as LAN broadband prices, the potentiality of the gaming market start emerging. Globally recognized video games with a massive following in other markets and in the other countries have been waiting on the sidelines for a long time, now have a chance to showcase themselves. Also, when the fecality of cheap, affordable and good quality internet come to everyone’s grasp to every corner of the country, then the Indian market has shown the overwhelming response too, which in turn started a revolution in the Indian gaming ecosystem.

The factor of the “amount of free time”

Free time
image source: rnib.org

PUBG, from Tencent, has not only taken the lead in gaining the Indian gaming attention but is leading the way to create more amazing games for India, and Indian gamers in the coming next decade.

In a big country like India, most of the population are from the rural area, as well as the population from the small town and cities (tier 3, tier 4 towns) are also huge. If we digitize a number of populations who live outside the Metro Cities and tier 2 cities then the rest population would be like 75-80 crores of people. Most of this huge amount of people have a free time of 4-5 hours daily where they have very fewer options to engage with. In the small towns or in villages of India there is almost no nightlife. So, after the evening when all the daily works of a person are dealt by him/her, they have a lot of spare time. PUBG become a partner of that free time for most of the players belong from India. As data connection availability is common around the country, the game with its competitive nature took the whole market by storm.

This insight clears the doubt that if any company could provide a credible way for people to kill time on their phones, sitting at their homes, even relaxing on their couch and free of cost, adoption would be massive. Again, from global experience, and the exceeding digitalization of entertainment I personally felt that video consumption and mobile gaming would get the maximum attention and reception.

We have seen the early signs of emerging growth for the mobile gaming ecosystem in India since 2015. Game downloads have increased 8 to 10 times, because of the huge increment in user of smartphones as well as the development in data connectivity. The active mobile gaming population in India growing to approximately 200 million according to ET Bureau and App Annie. This number is expected to grow up to 450 million by 2021. Even though the numbers seem large, these are still early days of gaming in India as only the youth and teenagers are interested in gaming in India nowadays. Also, the number of female video gamers are also very small in comparison to the number of male players. So, in simple even with this huge number, it is just the tip of the mountain. In future India is going to have the largest number of video game players around the world.

Nature of Gaming market in India:

Big on downloads but Low on revenue

India is the fifth-largest country by the number of game downloads but remains far behind on gaming revenue. The most widely adopted games in India small in size (around 100mb), single-player, story-based or turn-based games. Games like Angry Birds, Subway Surfer, Temple run Candy Crush, Clash of Clans were one of the most popular even a year earlier. As those games were small in size, it was affordable for the limited data package users, and offline games were the main focus as the quality internet for multiplayer games as not available to everyone. But the real thing is that games are much more exciting when you play them with others real player as well as with your friends. Competing and playing well with them gain recognition among friends and other gamers, which is appreciated by every gamer.

Most of India players especially mobile players have not experienced the taste of multi-player gaming before PUBG; people who have played Age of Empires (AOE) or Counter-Strike or Quake during their school or college days are a very small subset who would relate to this format.

Even in case of PC gaming most of the players in India tend to download pirated copies of games, as per the financial ability of average Indian, frequently buying games is not possible for around 80% of Indians families. Where PUBG is free and involves the greatest number of players around the world.

Even I remember my college days when I used to play Counter-Strike with my friends every day. It was addictive, competitive, entertaining, mind sharpening, and a very good time pass activity too. We used to play the games in 5 player squad mode, where regular completions were held within the college and also at inter-collegiate level. We even used to spend time watching the recording of our gameplays to become better at it, as well as we used to watch the gameplays of pro player on YouTube to learn more. There were pro players with us who even used to play 10-13 hours a day to get even better at it.

Perfect timing to invade into the Market

Perfect timing to invade into the Market

The PUBG phenomenon shows how rapidly India is changing beyond expectations. The reality is the hunger for change and an upgrade was lighting since long ago, but the chance was not here yet, but now it is.

PUBG has redefined two things clearly. Firstly, it’s a 2GB game. I don’t think any have ever downloaded a 2GB app on phone before. Even still now without PUBG, there is no other app that large has been downloaded in your phone, I am sure about this. Most Indian app developers did not dare to make even a 500MB app as in India most of the users didn’t have phones that could support such large apps or games. Mostly we used to delete apps to install new apps and space was a short supply always.

Any other developer would have been so concerned about the size of the app that they would sacrifice graphics quality and the depth of the game (functions and reality) to keep the app small and to tie the hardware recommendation at a very lower point. But, Tencent has taken the risk at the time when the Indian market was waiting for just the thing, and they accepted it with open arms. Today, Indians are not only downloading and keeping a 2GB app as well as affording 500-800 MB worth of updates every month. This is truly an unprecedented and unseen tie for the Indian app and gaming ecosystem.

The developing company Tencent Gaming took the opportunity by storm when it was waiting for just the thing. Most of the users were using smartphones, having good quality 4G data connection, so the base was set, today or tomorrow some company would have taken the advantage of this market, but Tencent did it first. So, in turn, they become the shapeshifter of Indian Gaming Ecosystem.

Secondly, PUBG is a massive multiplayer Third-person and First-person shooting game. That means if a player shoots in the game, it hits the target right away which is also another real player playing the game and 100 real people can play together at the same time; 100 people are on a single map, and it is basically virtual life like Hunger Games on screen – the last standing team or man survives would win.

This taste of real competitive gaming was untasted by most of the Indian players. The aggression, the increasing heartbeat, the blood pump through your veins, the cool-headed thinking to understand your enemy approach, all are new aspects for most of the Indian gamers. And in reality, most of the people are adventure lover, we love to do the risky thing, as at the end if we succeed it gives us inner pleasure; this is human nature. The game let us fulfill that need and fantasy of ours without risking anything in real life, even for free.

There was a time when nobody thought that bandwidth in India would ever be able to support real-time online multiplayer games, but we are there today. The advancements in a telecommunication system and in computation technology in India is much slower than many countries in the world. But today we are almost at the same level by gaining a pace in upgradation in the last couple of years. Which brings us to the doorstep of the global level digital marketing and competitions.

One of the coolest things about this game is that you can play with anyone from anywhere around India or anywhere around the globe. It has become such a rage or phenomenon that at even at 2.00 am of a night or 5.00 am in the morning, you get matched with other real players from all over the world.

In a country like India where in terms of diversity we are the largest country, this game let us unite to play with anyone in the game. While you are sitting back at your home Delhi you can play with a player from Kashmir, or from Kanyakumari or from Guwahati, or even from UK or USA or Australia. No matter what your language, religion, age or sex is, you are united by a game to have a good time together.

It is also an interesting way to meet new people, just like a social media website, as you can do voice chat with your team works seamlessly during the game, and if you enjoy playing with each other, you can even invite them to be your friend or to join in other matches and play with them again later on. This way it can lead up to a healthy friendship at the end also, which is a great plus point of these kinds of games. It is also exciting to see the huge masses experiencing a true multiplayer game, and it is exciting to play with these unknown folks and get to know each other. Maybe only in the game but, here you will learn to put your trust someone whom you have never meet, or you may never meet in your whole life.

Even I have 2-3 good friends of mine whom I get to know while playing PUBG and FortNite.


Time for the Next Level

Professional gamer

Becoming a Professional (career wise)

Not just playing to kill time, people are also playing in tournaments in their cities, cafes, colleges and at the national level organized by the college committee, or by some private company, even by the developers. Folks actually do care for their rankings, ratings, tiers and all. Some people are pretty serious about the game and most of them have some serious skill also which may lead them to make a career about what he or we never have dreamt about.

The rage is such serious that one of my friends was playing PUBG overnight sitting with his luggage ready as he had to catch an early morning flight from Delhi airport to come back to Kolkata, and he ended up missing his flight as he was too engrossed in the game.

As PUBG has opened new horizons for Indian gamers, it is also creating possibilities for Indian game developers to build new multiplayer games of the kind which they had never thought about. With a huge and robust ecosystem of India, the level of gaming will increase multi-fold as multiplayer games are much more addictive than single-player games. This would also work as a catalyst for the investors to take another look at the Indian gaming industry where they can multiply their money and I expect that the amount of capital going into the sector of gaming which in turn will increase dramatically and end up with the biggest and most elite level gaming industry. Where playing video games for pro teams will become a full-time job just like Cricket and Football. For that multifold change and huge endeavor the developers in India need to build multi-player games with a deeper storyline and realistic graphics, and with an Indian ethnicity to compete with well-known global titles like PUBG, so that foreigners deem to play in Indian server and to compete with Indian players.

The evolution of e-sports started almost a decade ago, but in India the spark in the rocket it lit by PUBG without any doubt. There are many talented players among us. If the e-sports industry booms just like it did in USA or Europe, then it will open up with a huge opportunity and huge employment. Not only as a player but also as a techie in the game developing and service providing companies. It will generate a huge revenue, may start a new career-oriented academic course like IT, and will open up a new horizon for us, which we have not dreamt about. It can prove to be a worthy invention for our gaming society.

The professional competitions are also a hot spot for players as the prize money is huge as well as the sponsors are looking for new talents every day. The investors also would be interested as they can multiply their money in this kind of competition for sure, so it is going to become a money spinner in the very near future.

Apart from that, there are many full-time pro players who do stream their gameplay video and do participate in live stream events, in YouTube, and in Twitch Tv, to earns a decent amount of money and a huge amount of fan following. Those who do not know can check YouTube any time for “PUBG Mobile live stream”, and he will get his answer right away. There is a player name Tyler Blevins from the USA known as “Ninja”, who has been named in among one of the richest sports personalities, and also had his name on the Forbs list a couple of months earlier, as an Entrepreneur, he had some unbelieve monetary contract with twitch and some other sponsors. He is a pro HALO player and now a full-time FortNite streamer on Twitch Tv. And most importantly most of the successful e-sports games are not kids, they are grown man (Ninja is 27 now), so while we are talking about gaming as a career, it is not a joke at all, in reality, it is a huge future possibility.


1 thought on “6 Effects of PUBG mobile on the Indian Gaming ecosystem”

  1. Hey Sayan!
    This article was worth a read. The way this game has blown up here in India makes me really happy as a gamer. Even though I mostly game on my PS4, gaming has emerged as a great pastime for my friends.
    The bit you mentioned about people considering a gamer as socially weak or awkward resonates with me and I hope as more and more Indians get to gaming, that taboo will slowly neutralize.


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