As the year draws to an end, we take a look back at 2020 and what it meant for the Indian mobile esports. This year, three major mobile esports titles were in the spotlight, namely Free Fire, PUBG Mobile and the new entrant into the Indian esports scene, COD Mobile. These games held a number of major and minor tournaments throughout the year. While the global lockdown situations complicated the situation for offline tournaments, many organisers decided to go online. This year has seen an upsurge for Free Fire and COD Mobile, while also proving to be a difficult one for PUBG Mobile. We looked at the top tier tournaments with sizable prize pools, to try and determine which team made the most out of the year’s Indian esports events.
INDIAN ESPORTS ORGANISATIONS MAJOR TOURNAMENT EARNINGS 2020
|Earnings (in US$)|
|Orange Rock (PUBG Mobile)||$83,983|
|TSM Entity (PUBG Mobile)||$71,281|
|GXR Celtz/Celtz (PUBG Mobile)||$55,222|
|Total Gaming (Free Fire)||$49,692|
|Megastars (PUBG Mobile)||$32,268|
|Fnatic (PUBG Mobile)||$24,384|
|SynerGE (PUBG Mobile)||$21,107|
|Nova Godlike (PUBG Mobile)||$20,100|
|TeamIND (PUBG Mobile)||$17,678|
|Critical X Elite (Free Fire)||$13,641|
Note: Values are based on S, A and B-tier tournaments listed for PUBG Mobile in India and Premier and Major tournaments conducted for Free Fire. Tournament prize winnings sourced from Liquipedia.
2020 has been a rough one for the PUBG Mobile esports scene in India. What could have been a year of Indian squads going toe-to-toe against top international teams like Bigetron RA in earnings, ultimately never materialized due to the PUBG Mobile ban in the country. However, before September, when top tier tournaments like PUBG Mobile World League took place, Indian teams like Orange Rock, TSM Entity and Celtz rocketed to the top of the earnings table.
Orange Rock Esports had been on a fantastic run this year, riding high on their second-place finish in PUBG Mobile World League 2020: East. From that one tournament alone, the team picked up $55,000 in prize money. Looking at the S-tier, A-tier and B-tier tournament performances, Orange Rock has made approximately $83,983 in 2020. The team had big wins in the ESL India Premiership 2020 Summer Season, PUBG Mobile Pro League - Spring Split 2020: South Asia and PUBG Mobile Club Open - Spring Split 2020: India, helping them top the table.
While TSM Entity couldn’t manage to top their 2019 earnings from major tournaments, the team managed to make their presence known in the Indian PUBG Mobile esports scene. The team placed sixth in PUBG Mobile World League 2020 - Season 0: East and took home $14,500 and also picked up $26,781 in PUBG Mobile India Series 2020. The year saw TSM Entity earn approximately $71,281 from their major tournament performances.
Celtz kicked off the year with a 9th place finish in PUBG Mobile Club Open - Spring Split 2020: India before winning the PUBG Mobile Pro League - Spring Split 2020: South Asia. PMPL earned the team $40,000 before they went through a number of changes in 2020. On 3rd July Galaxy Racer Esports signed the roster for Celtz, forming GXR Celtz. The new team came in 14th place in PMWL East and took home $10,500.
Free Fire has been having a great year with the addition of several iconic celebrities from star footballers like Cristiano Ronaldo as Chrono to Bollywood stars like Hrithik Roshan as Jai joining the roster. The game’s several tournaments also saw increased viewership numbers and several Indian teams ended in podium finishes.
Total Gaming’s YouTube channel has also been going strong for a while now. As of two months ago, the team’s channel had 15 million subscribers. As of 25th December 2020, they have 18 million subs. Total Gaming also hit 1 million likes on their recent live stream, while playing for 18 hours straight.
Critical X Elite came in second place during Free Fire India Championship 2020 Fall walking away with $13,641. It is interesting to note that Critical X ended up letting go of their squad and sources suggested that they would be picked up by Total Gaming, essentially in what would be a merger of the top two Free Fire teams in India.
XTZ Esports, which was previously Stalwart Esports, came in third place during the FFIC 2020 Fall and won $6,820. Stalwart Esports had Introduced its Free Fire lineup for the tournament in October. However, the players moved to XTZ Esports. Unfortunately, the team could not replicate their previous success in the Free Fire Continental Series 2020: Asia, coming in 15th place. While the XTZ’s Valorant team seems to be finding quite a bit of success in tournaments, their newly made Free Fire team will be looking to come out on top in 2021.
Call of Duty: Mobile esports started slowly picking up pace through the year. Call of Duty Mobile World Championship 2020 stunned the world with its grand prize pool of $750,000 when it was announced earlier this year. The EU East & Asia regional championship segment of the tournament saw teams like SynerGE and Team Mayhem compete for $50,000. Team Mayhem came out on top and won $15,000 off that tournament, however, following the cancellation of World Championship, all teams (with the exception of Oxygen Esports) are to receive $107,000 equally from the $750,000 prize pool.
This technically puts Team Mayhem’s winnings for the tournament at $122,000, surpassing Orange Rock’s entire 2020 top tier run with just one tournament. However, for the sake of this list, we are not counting cancelled tournament earnings.