Breaking Down Indian Esports Viewership in 2022
In 2022, Indian esports faced several challenges, including government suspensions on Battlegrounds Mobile India and Free Fire and various government regulatory changes to online gaming. However, despite these challenges, Indian esports made a strong showing on the global stage, with Global Esports being selected for the Valorant Asia-Pacific League and Indian players winning bronze in Dota 2 at the 2022 Commonwealth Esports Championship.
Locally, 2022 has been a tumultuous one for the Indian esports industry. One of the biggest highlights of the year was the return of Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) to the forefront of the scene, which led to the game being broadcast on prime-time Indian television. This move introduced new demographics to the world of esports and helped the BGMI Masters Series break viewership records, in the first eight days of the tournament.
However, despite this initial success, the Indian esports industry faced a significant setback when the government blocked and Free Fire from Indian app stores. This move resulted in a significant drop in viewership numbers, as these two games had previously been some of the most popular in the country. , BGMI alone had a total of just under 50 million hours watched.
In the wake of these challenges, other titles such as Valorant and New State Mobile have emerged as potential replacements, but the road ahead for these games and the industry as a whole remains challenging. Many are wondering if these titles will be able to fill the void left by BGMI and Free Fire, and if the industry can recover from the significant blow it has suffered.
NODWIN Gaming Led the Way in Indian Esports Viewership in 2022 with Record-Breaking BGMI Masters Series and BGMI Showdown
NODWIN Gaming has had a successful year in 2022, partnering with various non-endemic brands including Star Sports, Hero Vired, Wings Lifestyle, and more. Its biggest event was the BGMI Masters Series which was televised on Star Sports 2 and reportedly broke a viewership record on television by garnering 12.3M views in the first eight days (24th June to 1st July) of the tournament. The BGMI Masters Series also had 34.33M total views and had a total watch time of 5.43M hours on Loco, according to the company.
The company also hosted the which clocked over 2.5 million hours of watch time and 314.4K peak concurrent viewers.
Skyesports has had a successful year, hosting the and the . The AMD Skyesports Grand Slam had a prize pool of $20.08K and attracted 152.9K peak concurrent viewers while the 7Sea Invitational had a prize pool of $20K and attracted a peak concurrent viewership of 113.3K.
It should be noted that Tesseract Esports also had a successful run in 2022, hosting multiple BGMI tournaments in association with Krafton. The company's Battlegrounds Mobile India Series 2021 was the most streamed Indian esports tournament of the year with 460K peak concurrent viewers.
Valorant also had a number of tournaments with strong viewership, but they generally had lower peak viewer counts compared to the battle royale games. The top three most successful Valorant tournaments in terms of hours watched were Galaxy Racer’s Valorant India Invitational, NODWIN Gaming's Valorant Conquerors Championship, and Skyesports' AMD Skyesports Champions Series.
It is difficult to make direct comparisons between the viewership numbers of different games, as each game has its own unique audience and popularity. However, it is worth noting that the top three most successful Valorant tournaments in terms of hours watched all had lower viewership numbers than several of the top BGMI tournaments.
For example, the had a total of 572.9K hours watched, while the had 2.5M hours watched. Similarly, when comparing the AMD Skyesports Grand Slam 2022 (PUBG Mobile/BGMI tournament) to the , it is clear that the former had significantly higher viewership than the latter. Both tournaments were organized by the same company and had similar prize pools, but the Grand Slam attracted 1.32 million hours watched while the Champions Series only had 628,076 hours watched.
Overall here's a surface level look at all the major tournaments hosted by some of India's biggest tournament organizers:
Data sourced from Esports Charts
Valorant seems like the only title that can replace BGMI
Esports organizers in India have also shown interest in a variety of titles, including New State Mobile, Brawl Stars, FIFA, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Rainbow Six: Siege. FIFA has gained some popularity in India, with the organized by NODWIN Gaming attracting over 106,000 viewers. Call of Duty: Mobile has also gained moderate traction in India, with organized by NODWIN Gaming attracting almost 2,000 peak viewers. Other titles like Rainbow Six: Siege have not gained as much success in India, with tournaments organized by The Esports Club attracting fewer than 100 viewers.
New State Mobile is beginning to gain more attention in India, with The Esports Club organizing the , and the which had 10.4K peak concurrent viewers. However, the game has a long way to go before it can be considered a success story in India.
Overall this leaves Valorant as the only game with enough interest to dethrone BGMI’s spot in the future. Despite paling in comparison to BGMI’s viewership numbers, Valorant has a solid road map ahead for Indian esports with multiple local tournaments being included in Riot’s official off-season calendar and scores of content creators popularizing the game in India.
The popularity of Valorant in India has not gone unnoticed by Riot Games, as the publisher has included Global Esports in the franchised league for the game. The company has also put up billboards featuring various Valorant organizations and content creators across India.
Riot even hosted a large event with India's biggest gaming celebrities to celebrate the launch of the Indian agent Harbor. These efforts demonstrate that Riot Games is looking to capitalize on the growing interest in Valorant in India, and the success of Global Esports in the league is expected to increase the visibility of Indian esports further.