PC esports titles dominate developed markets, while mobile esports titles dominate emerging markets, which includes India. Is there then more glamour in PC esports than mobile? The Tech Panda asked a few experts.
India has a good lead in the mobile esports titles, along with other emerging markets. Over the years, mobile gaming has become one of the most popular platforms for gaming and currently stands at US$1.5 billion in India.
According to Newzoo’s 2022 Esports report, PC esports titles dominate developed markets such as North America, Europe, China, South Korea, and Japan. On the other hand, mobile esports titles dominate emerging markets like Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Southeast Asia, and India.
Does this mean that mobile esports titles aren’t as prestigious as the PC titles? Is there a lack in glamour in mobile titles, given that they are ruled by the developed market?
The Tech Panda spoke to a few esports experts to find out.
In a way, gaming on a mobile phone is much harder than gaming on a PC. Esports titles, be it on a mobile phone or on a PC, have the same level of hype and prestige amongst their fans
“If we look at the most prestigious titles in PC gaming such as PUBG, Call of Duty, Fortnite, Rainbow six siege, Valorant, and many more, they’ve have already released mobile versions or are planning to cover the mobile gaming market as well,” he says.
“In a way, gaming on a mobile phone is much harder than gaming on a PC. Esports titles, be it on a mobile phone or on a PC, have the same level of hype and prestige amongst their fans and this is what unifies the gaming community,” he adds.
BGMI, Free Fire MAX, Call of Duty Mobile, including several others are some of the top most popular mobile esports games, which have created a wave of wild craze.
“The popularity of the mobile platform is colossal, and we surely can’t ignore its dominating popularity. In a true sense, they have played a crucial role in taking esports to everyone, breaking all geographical and economical shackles,” says Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF).
Thanks to the affordability and the liberty it gives to carry everywhere and play anywhere, emerging markets are popular with esports on mobile. These benefits have led esports titles on mobile to successfully capture an audience that was left untouched by PC games
Also, the fact that the Asian Games have included two mobile titles as their medal sports, PUBG Mobile and Arena of Valor, right next to PC titles like DOTA2 and Hearthstone, speak volumes for their significance.
“Thanks to the affordability and the liberty it gives to carry everywhere and play anywhere, emerging markets are popular with esports on mobile. These benefits have led esports titles on mobile to successfully capture an audience that was left untouched by PC games, creating more diverse followers and filling the void across gender,” he adds.
Where Does the Money Lie, Mobile or PC?
Currently, globally speaking, PC games have more money involved by dint of being around for a greater number of years. The hierarchy in terms of history looks like the following:
However, things might be changing. According to Newzoo, the mobile gaming industry will cross the US$100 billion revenue mark this year.
When it comes to revenue earned, the gaming market in India is dominated by mobile gaming currently compared to PC gaming. Nair informs that mobile gaming titles are still projected to generate more revenue than PC gaming, since the majority of Indian gamers play on mobile phones.
Suji concurs that mobile games are in no way suffering when it comes to revenue.
“Mobile games are taking over the market, and we have seen the outpouring of positive response from publishers, advertisers, shareholders and even developers to be willing to be associated with mobile games and invest in them, due to its proven results that they enjoy a more dominant stand over PC gaming,” he says.
Kumar Gaurav, an esports communication expert, says in India, at a global level, prize pool money is still attractive in PC titles.
In India, as most of the endemic and non-endemic brands stake their marketing budget on mobile esports titles like BGMI, and Free Fire Max, mobile gaming revenues are expected to outstrip the money generated by both console and PC games
“In India, as most of the endemic and non-endemic brands stake their marketing budget on mobile esports titles like BGMI, and Free Fire Max, mobile gaming revenues are expected to outstrip the money generated by both console and PC games. But internationally, PC titles have big prize pool tournaments and one can earn millions from them,” he says.
For instance, the International 10, DOTA’s 2021 championship, which took place in Bucharest, Romania, last year, had a record prize pool of just over US$40 million.
However, even at an international level, a change might be coming as big gaming companies see big bucks in mobile gaming. For example, Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of PC games such as Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft, and Overwatch series, recently released three mobile games, and the last one with no plans for a PC version.
Will Indian gamers shift to PC titles?
As long as mobile games continue to generate revenue, it’s unlikely that we’ll see countries like India shift to PC titles in the future.
On the contrary, says Nair, many game developers are introducing titles on mobile phones because nearly everyone today possesses a smartphone and more than 80% of India’s smartphone owners game on their devices.
The Indian esports scene aims and is projected to excel in both mobile and PC gaming, as we see tournaments and gamers emerging for both platforms
“As PC gaming has a wide user base and is growing at a steady rate, mobile gaming still dominates the Indian market and is projected to reach US$5 billion in revenue. The Indian esports scene aims and is projected to excel in both mobile and PC gaming, as we see tournaments and gamers emerging for both platforms,” he says.
Suji says esports is device agnostic, a fact endorsed by the trend of esports already evolving into AR (Augmented Reality).
“As India is a mobile-first consumer country, I believe esports on mobile will always be predominantly prevailing as compared to PC titles. However, our vision is to bring esports into the mainstream, and we hope the players receive the same stature as traditional athletes when they win medals for the country,” he emphasises.
“I think our focus should be more on supporting these young talents, nurturing them and guiding them. Whether they are more into esports titles on PC or mobile, it is completely based on their interest and skill,” he adds.
I think our focus should be more on supporting these young talents, nurturing them and guiding them. Whether they are more into esports titles on PC or mobile, it is completely based on their interest and skill
Kumar gives a cricket analogy to explain his answer.
“PC titles are like test matches that will always be the best and most classy form of esports and it’s like an old school thing. Mobile gaming is like T20 cricket in India, which has fired up in the last three-four years and now the majority of the esports athletes are showing their interest in mobile esports titles,” he says.
“Cheap data revolutionised by telecom giant Reliance Jio and mobile title PUBG which is now BGMI by the game publisher Krafton played a major role in shaping the mobile gaming revolution in India,” he adds.
There are plenty of PC titles which are much known internationally and have big prize pool tournaments, but the publisher needs to see the Indian market seriously to develop their esports scene here. But as said, PC gaming will always be here, and we can definitely see a rise in PC gaming if the stakeholders bring some serious attention to it.