The reinstated BGMI (BattleGrounds Mobile India) - Krafton’s bespoke version of PUBG Mobile for the Indian market - has announced its first collaboration, with Indian gaming personalities Naman Mathur (Mortal) and Animesh Agarwal (Thug).
The collaboration will take the form of voice packs featuring both personalities within the game itself, both of whom are part of S8UL, the Indian esports team. This latest addition reflects a continued attempt to reach out to the player community, as BGMI was only recently reinstated after a ten-month hiatus. The collaboration also reflects the potential of the game in driving mobile esports within India, which boasts a growing mobile gaming community and huge number of potential players, BGMI boasted more than 100 million registered users in July 2022 and if only a fraction participate in or view esports it represents a sizeable following.
In his role as founder and CEO of 8Bit Creatives and co-owner of S8UL, Agarwal commented, "Since the game's official release, the entire gaming community has been buzzing with excitement. It's an amazing feeling to have my voice in the game, guiding and motivating players. I eagerly anticipate embarking on this new journey and contributing to BGMI's prosperity in the years to come."
Naman 'Mortal' Mathur, co-owner of S8UL Esports, shared his perspective, stating, "Being part of BGMI's exceptional rise as a player, it's gratifying to be included in the game and provide fans with a personalised experience throughout their gaming journey. It is now time to immerse ourselves in the game and leverage it to achieve prominence in the industry."
Indian esports potential
India’s continued mobile adoption is a major driver towards a growing playerbase in the country. However, one of the greater challenges has been bringing in money from publishing and running games in the market. BGMI, it seems, has managed to monetise partially out of outreach and in-game collaborations as it does in other markets, and also by courting a growing esports audience in India.
The game’s return has been cited as a major boon to that growing competitive community, which participates heavily via the mobile platform. Before its suspension it not only saw $33m in in-app spending from 2021 to 2022, but was also the first esports event to be broadcast on mainstream television in India on the channel Star Sports, attracting 24 million concurrent viewers and a total of 200 million viewers
Director of the Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) Mr. Lokesh Suji commented on the game’s return. "The return of BGMI to the PlayStore and App Store signifies a new era of opportunities and immense growth for the Indian Esports community. Now that the game is officially back, it presents a fantastic platform for the country's Esports athletes, budding gamers, and gaming content creators to leverage its potential and propel the industry to greater heights.
“Additionally, the government of India introducing measures to create a safe & secure ecosystem for players of all ages to enjoy will consequently help the game sustain and thrive. We look forward to watching this new chapter of the game unfold and take the nation's video-gaming landscape by storm again."
But, for all the potential the esports community in India has, there has also been concern expressed by game makers on all platforms as to how effective legislation in India is in supporting the growing games industry of the company. Regardless of this, it looks to be inevitable that India will be a major player in mobile gaming, and gaming as a whole, within the near future.