The ban on Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) is set to severely impact India’s eSports industry. BGMI is amongst the most downloaded app in all categories and an undisputed leader in gaming category.
To understand the potential, only a few days before the ban, esports tournament, ‘BGMI Masters Series 2022’, has witnessed record viewership with more than 100 million views on live game streaming platform, Loco.
With the ban, the burgeoning sector is all set for disruption and hit the viewership of gamers who earn by streaming BGMI gaming sessions.
The impact can be seen already. Few days after the ban, ESports Premier League had announced the postponement of BGMI Season 2 LAN Finals. The event is originally scheduled in the first week of August carrying a prize pool of ₹ 1 crore. The large prize money is an indication of the BGMI’s popularity and pull.
Vishwalok Nath, Director, Esports Premier League said, “We are yet to receive an official statement from the Government on the reason behind the removal of the game from the Play Store and App Store. This is between the publisher and the government and we hope this issue will be resolved soon. For ESPL, it’s a wait-and-watch time to take further decisions.”
A report on Live Mint states viewership among content creators fell nearly 70% when PUBG was banned in 2020 since alternate titles did not have the same reach.
However, Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) claims its still too early to comment on the situation without a clarification from the govt.
The ban comes at a time global sporting bodies are looking to treat eSports on par with athletic sports. Commonwealth Games 2022 is all set to witness eSports as a demonstration event while Asian Games 2022 will have them as a medal event in 8 titles with 24 medals 🏅.