Pixel P&L: Why Western Esports Giants Are Betting Big on MLBB

Vignesh Raghuram
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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Pixel P&amp;L</p></div>
Pixel P&amp;L


AFK Gaming

Good morning. It's Thursday, June 27. In today's edition, we explore why western esports organizations have suddenly started courting Mobile Legends: Bang Bang teams. We also cover Nazara and nCore’s collaboration on the sequel to FAU-G and Bihar’s growing embrace of esports. Continue reading for the latest news in gaming and youth entertainment.

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Western Esports Powers Embrace Mobile Legends: The Strategic Shift Explained

"Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is obviously one of the titles that always seem to be a big mystery to the European and North American audience, but if you look at the figures, you can’t deny how big of a game it is," remarked Danny Engels, Global Operations Director of Team Vitality, in an interview with AFK Gaming.

This observation comes at a pivotal time as Western esports giants like Team Liquid, FNATIC, Team Vitality, and Cloud9 have recently announced their entry into the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) arena. This surge in Western interest in a game predominantly dominating the Southeast Asian market begs a critical question: Why now?

In 2023, MLBB tournaments were among the most-watched mobile esports events globally, outperforming titans such as PUBG Mobile and League of Legends. The strategic moves by these Western teams suggest a shifting focus towards the Asian-dominated title.

But what's driving this sudden Western fascination with MLBB? The answer isn't just about the large audiences or the competitive edge—it’s something more, a deeper strategic calculation perhaps. Our latest feature by John delves into the myriad reasons these global esports leaders are gravitating towards MLBB, exploring the intricate factors that frames their decisions. 

Nazara Technologies and nCore Games Announce FAU-G: Domination Partnership

Nazara Publishing, the publishing arm of India’s publicly listed gaming company Nazara Technologies, has partnered with nCore Games to launch FAU-G: Domination, the latest installment in the FAU-G franchise. The previous version, despite receiving mixed reviews, achieved notable success with up to 50 million downloads. Pre-registrations for FAU-G: Domination will be available on Google Play and the App Store later this year.

Developed by Dot9 Games, a studio under nCore Games, FAU-G: Domination features modern-day military themes with Indian characters, each having unique backstories. The game includes various maps with diverse environments that showcase India's cultural heritage, blending traditional pride with advanced gameplay mechanics.

Vishal Gondal, Co-Founder of nCore Games, highlighted the alignment of this release with the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. “FAU-G: Domination is our response to PM Modi’s call, and we’re thankful that Nazara shares our vision to bring the best of India to the world. This signals India’s arrival as a major player in the global gaming industry,” Gondal said.

Quick Bytes

Bihar Adopts Esports in 2024–25 Sports Calendar

The Bihar State Sports Authority has announced the commencement of esports events starting August 14, as part of their 2024–25 sports calendar. This initiative aims to build esports from the ground up, with a focus on talent identification through a Divisional Grassroots program and inter-school and inter-college scouting. 

China Approves 104 New Games, Boosting Tencent and Alibaba's Portfolios

China has approved 104 new video games from mainland developers this month, including titles from Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding. The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) greenlit Tencent’s online RPG Roco Kingdom: World and Ruyuan from Alibaba's Lingxi Games, as per the regulator’s website on Tuesday. This approval marks a rebound for China’s gaming industry, which only saw fewer than 100 titles approved in April and May.

SuperGaming Launches TDM Mode for Indus Battle Royale

Indian video game studio SuperGaming, has unveiled a Team Deathmatch (TDM) mode for its forthcoming game, Indus Battle Royale, which recently surpassed 11 million pre-registrations on the Google Play Store. The TDM mode features 4v4 gameplay on a new map, Saaplok, where players respawn after elimination, with the first squad to reach 50 kills declared the winner. Enhancements include reworked weapon mechanics, a new UI widget called "ferrofluids," and improved visual and audio effects. 

Garena Free Fire Celebrates 7th Anniversary with Nostalgic In-Game Events

Garena Free Fire celebrates its seventh anniversary with a month-long event featuring themed rewards and nostalgic activities. Starting June 26th, players can enjoy "classic features" such as the Mini Peak map and vintage weapons, aiming to evoke the game's early days. The event includes weapon adjustments, in-game optimizations, anniversary gift boxes, and a new first-person mode in Clash Squad. Free Fire is currently banned in India, while Free Fire Max is still available in the country.

Did You Know

Did you know that during his 2008 presidential election campaign, Barack Obama purchased ad space in 18 video games across 10 states? The “Vote for Change” billboards appeared in popular titles like Burnout Paradise, Skate, and Madden, targeting the crucial demographic of 18 to 34-year-olds.

Obama’s campaign leveraged the burgeoning influence of video games to engage younger voters, who are often elusive through traditional advertising channels. By embedding political messages within the gaming experience, the campaign reached millions of potential voters where they spent considerable time. This pioneering use of in-game advertising marked a first in presidential campaign strategies, showcasing the power of digital and interactive media in political outreach.

Quote of the Day

Even the good leaders make poor decisions, the best take responsibility for them."
- Kratos, God of War

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Vignesh has been covering the esports industry for nearly 5 years starting with the early days of the DPC. His industry expertise includes experience in Dota 2, CS:GO and Mobile Esports coverage.