India sees 180% growth in esports prize pools due to PUBG Mobile

By Olivia Richman


Jan 13, 2020

Reading time: 2 min

As the esports industry continues to expand, more and more countries are cultivating and growing their own esports scenes. 

While North America, Europe, China, and Korea have continued to establish their continuously growing esports scenes, some newer regions have been further emerging. India had a major year in 2019 when it comes to esports. 

Mobile games bring India to esports’ forefront 

India hasn’t always had it easy when it comes to competitive gaming. India wasn’t really on the esports’ industry radar until mobile games started making a name for themselves.

PUBG Mobile made PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds accessible to players in countries like India, who often suffered from latency problems or have a lack of high-end computer software. India has become one of the biggest audiences for PUBG Mobile, proving that the country has an interest in competitive gaming but just needed a chance to get more involved. 

There are currently over 50 million PUBG Mobile players in India alone. While the game has led to a lot of controversies surrounding tragedy in the country, it’s also become a beacon of hope for Indian gamers looking to take part in the growing esports scene. 

Esports prize money grows 180% in India

Before PUBG Mobile, India wasn’t the top destination for major esports tournaments. They hosted DreamHack Mumbai in 2017, the first international esports tournament of its kind in India. Then in 2018, India was home to the ESL One Mumbai, COBX Masters, and DreamHack Delhi. These events combined to distribute around $500,000 in prize money. 

But in 2019 that figure grew 180%, with Indian tournaments handing out over $1.5 million in prize money. According to Esports Observer, PUBG Mobile tournaments made up 40% of India’s esports prize money last year. While international events like ESL One Mumbai obviously have a healthy prize pool, it’s more fascinating to recognize the amount of money coming from India’s own PUBG Mobile tournaments. 

As India continues to obsess over the mobile phenomenon, top-tier organizations may be looking to pick up some Indian PUBG Mobile rosters going into 2020 as the game continues to expand its esports presence

India will most likely be the top scouting ground for Clash Royale and Call of Duty: Mobile once those games also become bigger in 2020. Until then, India will continue to enjoy the growing popularity of PUBG Mobile as it makes its way into seemingly every aspect of domesic pop culture.