PUBG ban fails to make a dent; Call of Duty, Garena keep Indian gamers hooked

According to a recent study by CMR, there has been a noticeable upswing in mobile gaming in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown despite the PUBG Mobile ban in September

Ban on the popular mobile game, PUBG Mobile due to raging concerns over data security hasn't impacted Indian gamers. Mobile gaming remained consistently high, with no or minimal impact from PUBG ban. While gamers who had PUBG Mobile installed on their smartphones continued to play the game - it recently stopped working in India - many removed it from their devices and looked for alternatives.

"It is very interesting to note that the PUBG ban had a rather transitory impact on slowing down mobile gaming in India. Beyond the initial state of shock, PUBG users took to other mobile games. Games such as 'Call of Duty Mobile' and 'Garena Free Fire' benefited from the PUBG ban," says Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR.

According to a recent study by CMR, there has been a noticeable upswing in mobile gaming in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Three in every five gamers believe that mobile gaming enabled them in overcoming social isolation during the lockdown period. While COVID-19 has propelled the use of mobile as a way to work, learn and communicate, it is also providing consumers with some much-needed interactive and imaginative entertainment. Casual gamers indicated playing for 'fun' (47 per cent), whereas serious gamers sought to 'relieve stress' (40 per cent).

ALSO READ: PUBG Mobile terminates services, access for users from today

Mobile gaming has increased among three in every five serious gamers, with four hours being an average duration of increase since the lockdown began in India. In line with the increased time spent on mobile gaming, there has been a shift from freemium to paid gaming apps. During lockdown, 15 per cent of the gamers switched to paid mobile gaming apps.

Indians also tend to play mobile games based on family and friend recommendations. On an average, Indians have seven games installed on their smartphones. Of these, there are at least four games that they play regularly. Indians mostly play action or adventure games, followed by first-person shooter games. 'Call of Duty Mobile' and 'Garena Free Fire' are popular first-person shooter games.

Mobile gaming in India is driven by an array of gamer personas, ranging from the serious to the hyper-casual gamers. They differ from each other in terms of the time spent, the genres played, the places they play at, and most importantly, their outlook to mobile gaming. Powerful smartphones, across price points, backed by reliable internet, have been driving mobile gaming in India.

ALSO READ: PUBG Mobile jokes, memes circulate as curtain comes down on game

Amit Sharma, Analyst- Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, says, "Among mobile gamers, the top three pain points include phone heating, fast battery discharge and slow network. Going forward, mobile gamers expect more from their smartphones: more RAM, better battery life, increased storage and powerful SoCs."

Today consumers are well-aware that gaming SoCs enable and enrich the overall experience. And while Qualcomm (65 per cent) and MediaTek (61 per cent) are the top two brands that Indian gamers are aware of, more serious gamers show a preference for MediaTek (68 per cent) over Qualcomm (66 per cent).

The findings in "The Next-Gen Indian Mobile Gamer: A Consumer Survey Report" are based on an extensive survey conducted across eight cities of India, namely New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad with a sample size of 1,124 mobile gamers in the age groups of 16 to 35.

ALSO READ: FAU-G, India's answer to PUBG, set for November launch