The ban on India's most famous battle royale game, PUBG Mobile, created a void in this genre on the mobile platform. But other titles are slowly but steadily filling this void, and are bringing in staggering numbers, be it revenue or download numbers.
The Indian government had suspended PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite on 2nd September under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act 2009. Since then, mobile gamers in the country have been finding alternatives.
Although PUBG Corporation released a teaser on 14th November 2020 revealing the launch of the Indian version, no official release date has been announced. It would be interesting to see if PUBG Mobile India continues to dominate the country's battle royale market after its eventual comeback.
According to a report by esteemed industry intelligence, consulting, and marketing services company CyberMedia Research (CMR), since the ban of PUBG Mobile in India, 67% of the players have shifted to COD Mobile. 54% have moved to Garena Free Fire, and 36% to Fortnite. Some gamers (34%) have also shifted towards a relatively unknown battle royale title, Battlelands Royale.
The report has also classified mobile gamers into three types:
- Serious gamers: Daily players who spend at least nine hours a week gaming.
- Casual gamers: Players who play at least thrice a week.
- Hyper-casual gamers: Players who play once a week.
The number of casual gamers in India is the most, at 62%. Following them are serious gamers (29%) and then hyper-casual gamers, whose population is around 7%.
The report also stated that most Indians like to play action/adventure games (78%). Following them were FPS fans at 63%. In the third and fourth spots were fans of multiplayer and puzzle titles, whose figures stood at 50% and 44%, respectively.
Brief look at growth of top three BR titles to replace PUBG Mobile
Call of Duty Mobile
COD Mobile, from Activision, has shown tremendous growth since PUBG Mobile's ban. Reports indicate that most of the latter's players (67%) have shifted towards this title in India.
Since its release on 1st October 2019, the game has peaked at almost one billion hours (850 million) in hours watched. People enjoy the fast-paced action of this exhilarating FPS shooter.
Free Fire has been around for a while and has grown by leaps and bounds recently. 54% of the PUBG Mobile players have shifted towards this title, developed and published by Garena, since September. It also claimed the Esports Mobile Game of the Year award at the recent Esports Awards 2020.
The game recently signed superstar Cristiano Ronaldo as the brand ambassador, a remarkable feat. Free Fire runs smoothly on low-end devices as well, opening up the market for the game. The most-downloaded game from Q1 to Q3 this year, it has racked up more than 220 million installs.
The mobile version of Fortnite has also seen a steady growth, with 36% of Indian players shifting to this game. It has enjoyed quite a lot of success on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Fortnite Mobile, during the coronavirus pandemic, crossed $1 billion in revenue on both the app stores. Along with shooting, the title also allows players to build, which seems to be its key attraction.