Dissecting the Esports growth in India – Before and after Pubg Ban

On the evening of 2nd September, pubg mobile and Pubg mobile lite was banned including 118 Apps in India. From few months, there was a buzz around Pubg that whether it will be banned or not, how will things unfold, when it will be banned. On Wednesday, Ministry of Electronics and IT department released a press report stating the Ban on these 118 apps. Now let’s take a leap to the growth of Esports in India. In the starting of decade 2010’s, the term Esports was having a little buzz. Those years saw the nurturing phase of Esports, like what it is, how it will be and how big it will be in coming years. Esports now has become a big and recognized field and sector in the world. The esports market was valued at USD 694.2 million in 2017 and is expected to reach USD 2,174.8 million by 2023, at a CAGR of 18.61% between 2018 and 2023. The esports market is expected to grow because of various driving factors, such as increasing popularity of video games and growing awareness about esports. Pubg has played the right ignition for the sector in India for youth and game developers.


Few people know that Esports was getting popular somewhere around the 10 years back. Craze for gaming was popular from very early times. But the Esports as a serious filed born somewhere in 2011. It has now become a serious career option in the world. India is also growing as a Research and development center for all the world. India due to its recent interest and its youth population, is attracting the all Esports giants. Quite a few companies are looking at India as its primary testing scenario and manufacture hub. China is already holding the no. 1 ranking in Esports while India is still ranking at 15th position. However, it has just shot up in India after the arrival of battle ground game by krafton gaming & Tencent.  2-3 years down the line, India has shown a huge growth due to some popular games like Pubg mobile and COD mobile. Freefire and Fortnite is also among the few other popular names.

Esports vs Gaming

Most of the peoples may have a clear idea but few forks might find it confusing. So, the generally we can say Esports is more like a physical sport which has its competitive side. Just like that Esports also has its competitive scenario with every game. Esports has competition game wise.  Esports also has skill set to perform in such competitions. However, gaming is kind of casual term for games. Esports and gaming is just like Club cricket and gully cricket. Esports has everything like normal sports like coaches, teams and analyst like other support staffs. Esports has grown just as it has contracts which players sign and play under a professional team.

International Competition

Esports also has same dedication and craze like immersing yourself to win for your team and specially for your country. Somewhere we all know that international Competitions holds the respect of you respective teams and you have to give all the honours possible. Esports player usually practices for 10 hours or more depending on their area of work and their focus on some specific skills or moves. An average Esports player is quite more responsive than an average gaming player who plays for fun. Just like Sports, Esports also demands Some extra efforts to get yourself at some good levels. It involves your Response time and your frequency of taps and clicks. Basically, how fast you are in compare to others. It works in milliseconds. You need to have a good hand eye coordination for better results.

Esports is now being featured in Asian games, though it was a trail but somewhere it is confirmed that it will be a part of international sports championships like Olympics in coming times. Indian gamer Tirth Mehta won the medal for India in trials of Esports in Asian games. It is just matter of time that it becomes a usual part of Olympics like other games.

Pubg the game changer in India

Back in 2018 when pubg mobile got launched in India, it became an instant hit. Whole world including Indian youth grabbed this game as their favourite and became go to game for all the users. It was a common choice for all the users of different ages and choices. The concept of Battlegrounds was fully used by this game and changed the revolution for whole Esports in India. There were some games like CSGO, DOTA2 and COC. But Everything was shattered once Pubg came and it started its some competitive series like Dream hack & PMIS (Pubg Mobile India Series). Now until September 2020 Pubg has organised more than 10 series in India alone. Some Esports team has grossed high no. of fan followings like SouL, TSM, Fnatic, OR and Team IND. The esports has also increased the field of streaming scenario a lot in the whole world and also in world.     

Statistics of Esports in India

According to one statistics website named statista.com, the value of gaming industry in FY2020 is around 87.8 billion Indian rupees. Which is nearly 25.8B Rs more than previous of 62B in FY2019. A rapid penetration and affordability of smartphones, along with cheap mobile data have led to mobile phones being the most preferred device for gaming. The value of the mobile gaming market in India was projected to reach about 405 million U.S. dollars by the year 2022. This marked a significant increase in the sector’s market value from about 266 million dollars in 2016. The total no. of gamer in FY2020 is 365M while in FY2018 was near 269M.

Impact of Pubg Ban

Pubg ban in India has resulted in Tencent loosing approx. 14 Billion Dollars in market. The share of tencent has seen a fall of 2% until now. Pubg is among the topmost downloads in game scenario with 150M downloads. Tencent holds a 10% stake in PUBG’s parent company Bluehole.  Tencent Games is a part of Tencent Holdings, which is a Chinese multinational conglomerate. However, this move by India comes amid fresh border tensions with China in Ladakh when India spoiled repeated attempts by Chinese troops to transgress into the Indian side of Line of Actual Control (LAC) with intentions to unilaterally change the status quo. As most of players belong to Pubg right now, we can literally quote that they have literally lost their job in peak time of market. Lockdown had rightly supported them but now they are completely lost with some diminishing hopes that Pubg makes a comeback soon. Best thing to them is still this that they have support of audience and the fans.

Fau-G: New game

Just after the Ban news of Pubg came out with other 118 Apps, there comes the big announcement by Actor Akshay Kumar of a new game named Fau-G. However, its poster got involved in controversy of copying the poster from an old movie project. Public on the other hand has given mixed reactions to the game. Most of the people are saying that Ban of Pubg has created a large void which is not easy to fill. Audience has high expectation from this game as pubg has set the standards too high. There is also questions over its worldwide Competitive scenario. One thing is sure that International competition is too far and not probable in coming time. We personally as Indian audience don’t want another game like china i.e. “Game for Peace”. This makes them completely distanced from the international experience in competitive terms and in user base.

Pubg unban

Recently pubg announced that he is breaking his partnership with Tencent. Actually, it is specific to India only. Tencent will not be involved in any scenario in India. Pubg was involved in developing its mobile version. So, all the distribution and development will be solely handled by Bluehole and pubg corporation. However, pubg has stake in Bluehole company, which was taken earlier 3-4 months back. Now let’s see how many days it will take pubg to make a comeback in India. It may take 2 weeks to 2 months or more.

Esports as a career

Even though Esports has seen an upper high in few years but still it is bound under a strict bubble. While Pubg and other games are coming but in India Esports is mostly about Pubg mobile. More than 85% gamers are regular player of Pubg mobile both in terms of Pubg mobile competitive and streaming.  Parents in India are now quite comfortable about their children’s career in sports. If you are dedicated and good at it, parents will allow you for sure. But Esports is still not so popular in India around the middle-aged parents. Parents are still unknown to this field and its possibility of being a career. It’s not they are reluctant instead it’s that they are completely unknown to this platform. Still it’s not that difficult to survive in the gaming Community. Hard work can conquer anything to everything, one needs to dedicate soul and work to achieve the fame and gaming is not an exception. There are many opportunities to create in future but there is no professional option in India till now. With the ban of Pubg, everything has come to halt as there is way ahead to even plan the destination. Even established players are mostly pubg players and they have to start everything from scratch again. There is expectation to get streaming service watching a low too due to this decision. So, it has lowered more than it has grown in recent years. This reason is this that no other game has such big fan base like pubg and still it will benefit other games, but it is unlikely to take place of Pubg. However, Pubg would be putting blood and soul to somehow bring it back in action. For now, Esport is just like which is open to many glorious but nothing to offer and accept.

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