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Prize Pool Breakdown of Indian Esports 2022

Abhimannu Das
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Highlights
Indian esports hit historic highs with its viewership and prize pools this year.
BGMI was the number one game in India before things came crashing down amidst government bans.
Valorant has resurrected the love for PC esports in the country and it might take the number one spot.

Indian esports in 2022 was nothing short of a soap opera. This year two of the biggest mobile esports titles got banned in the country, DreamHack made a triumphant return at Hyderabad, India is now officially part of Valorant’s franchised league, and more. Indian tournament organizers are hosting bigger and better events than ever before and we had events with a total prize pool of over $2.2 Million USD and over 60 Million hours of watch time. Esports is now being aired alongside primetime television and you might even catch events at the theaters. Indian esports has come a long way this year and 2023 might have even bigger events with bigger prize pools.

The Rise and Fall of BGMI 

Indian Esports took a sharp turn as we transitioned from the era of CS:GO and Dota 2 in the country to PUBG Mobile. The mobile battle royale became “the game” everyone wanted to compete in but it was not meant to be. In 2020, PUBG Mobile was blocked in India along with 116 other apps because they were deemed to be “prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India.”

Fast forward to 2021, Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) was officially announced by Krafton and it launched successfully and had over 50 Million downloads in just two months from launch. In 2022, the iQOO Battlegrounds Mobile India Series was the most viewed event of 2022 with over 15 Million hours of watchtime and over 460,000 peak concurrent viewers.

BGMI also had the biggest prize pool for a single event in the Indian esports scene this year with the Battlegrounds Mobile India Pro Series Season 1 offering $260,577 in prize money. The second largest event was the BGMI Masters Series by NODWIN Gaming with over $190,923 up for grabs. But the craze for BGMI came crashing down as the game got banned in the country. While there are rumors of the game returning soon, no one knows if or when the game will really return. There is still a lot of love for the game and it could very easily reclaim its throne as the most popular esports title in India.

Valorant is Reawakening the Love for PC Esports

CS:GO and League of Legends are the two biggest esports titles in terms of global viewership, but neither title is particularly relevant in the Indian esports scene currently. The Indian CS:GO scene which was once thriving is now all but dead in the country. 

Since the launch of Valorant, a lot of ex-CS:GO pros have moved to Riot Games’ shooter and the scene has grown considerably over the past two years. Indian tournament organizers in India are consistently hosting events like The Esports Club Challenger Series, Skyesports SEA Champions Series, and NODWIN’s Valorant Conquerors Championship.

Valorant India Invitational by Galaxy Racer was the biggest Valorant event of 2022 in India with a prize pool of $100,000. It had over 660,000 hours of watch time and achieved a peak concurrent viewership of over 50,000. Global Esports’ entry into Valorant’s 2023 franchised esports circuit will boost the game’s popularity in India even further.

PUBG New State Might Be the Next Big Game

PUBG New State has potential to take BGMI’s place in the country. The game shares a lot of elements with PUBG Mobile and BGMI but it has a futuristic setting, unique mechanics, and fast-paced gameplay which a lot of players enjoy.

TEC Hosted its New State Open as part of the Bengaluru Comic Con 2022. The event had a massive prize pool of INR 10,50,000 and Team S8UL took home INR 5,00,000 after securing first place by beating the likes of Enigma Gaming and Gods Reign who put up a tough competition.

The Esports Club’s Director of Esports Mansoor “Nabu” Ahmed told AFK Gaming earlier this year that Krafton is willing to help promote New State esports and that the publisher helped with organizing the New State Open.

He stated, “New State is graphically intensive compared to other mobile titles. It has its own unique touch to it and if we (tournament organizers) put in the effort, it could become as big as the other titles in India.”

India is Embracing Mobile Esports

While PC and console games are popular, mobile gaming dominates the country. India ranks fifth in the list of countries with the lowest data prices in the world. Smartphones are also becoming accessible at increasingly affordable price ranges and the quality of devices is also going up at lower price points. Playing competitively on a mobile device is much more affordable than buying a console or a PC and tournament organizers are also looking to cultivate communities that participate in more mobile esports events.

2022 saw a massive amount of community events hosted by The Esports Club. We also had the Pokemon UNITE Championship Series take place in India with a prize pool of $50,000 USD where Revenant Esports took home the crown. 

Battlefield Mobile and Warzone Mobile are on the horizon and with enough support from the publishers, they could become popular esports titles. Major brands are taking note of esports’ popularity in India and are opening up to more partnerships.


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Abhimannu is a PC esports writer at AFK Gaming. With over seven years of experience in esports journalism, he has worked on a myriad of games and their ecosystems including Valorant, Overwatch and Apex Legends.

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