Battlegrounds Mobile India is expected to bring a significant shift in the Indian esports scene as it stands today.
Along with prominent tournament hosts, online personalities have been quite expressive in their thoughts on what the community can expect when Krafton’s title officially goes live.
Skyesports’ Founder/CEO, Shiva Nandy, too has voiced his opinions on BGMI. In a special interaction with Abhishek Mallick of Sportskeeda Esports, he opened up about the esports ecosystem that Battlegrounds Mobile India should create.
Here is an excerpt of the conversation.
Q. PUBG Mobile had been the most prominent market leader in the Indian mobile esports scene before the ban. Keeping its long-standing success in mind, how well do you feel Battlegrounds Mobile India will do, now that its beta (Early Access) is finally here?
Shiva: We are seeing a massive response from the Indian community towards the Early Access of Battlegrounds Mobile India. The game has already crossed over five million downloads, and most streamers are producing viewership numbers like before, if not higher. Esports teams are also starting to unveil their rosters.
With these stats, I am sure that the game will regain its former glory. Despite the gap of 10 months since the game’s ban, its community hasn’t gone anywhere.
Q. In terms of domestic and foreign engagement, as well as community participation, how well do you think Battlegrounds Mobile India will fare compared to PUBG Mobile? Do you feel it will create a thriving market for the community in just India itself?
Shiva: In terms of engagement, India is already a leading market for the game. We have a vibrant community, which will undoubtedly grow stronger with BGMI.
India’s mobile esports community is incomparable to most regions around the world, except maybe Southeast Asia.
As I said, the game is already producing numbers like before. I don’t think it’s a question about whether BGMI can create a thriving community, but about how big it will be.
Games like Valorant, Free Fire, and Clash of Clans are gaining popularity in India, and upcoming titles like Valorant Mobile and Apex Legends Mobile will only add to the competition.
Q. PUBG Mobile had been one of the biggest titles that Skyespsorts held regular events on. After the ban, you started focusing on PC exclusive games a bit more, helping games like Riot Game’s Valorant gain significant community traction. With BGMI going live later this year, will your focus once again shift to Krafton’s title?
Shiva: Skyesports is known for hosting multiple gaming titles. We have never restricted ourselves to a single title. In 2020 alone, we hosted tournaments for nine games.
Certainly, BGMI will be one of the titles in our competitions, but it won’t be our only focus. We want to see a diversified gaming community in India that will never stop grassroots events for other games.
Q. With the Early Access finally live, what were some of the more notable similarities and differences you noticed between Battlegrounds Mobile India and PUBG Mobile?
Shiva: The game is pretty much the same except for a few elements like no red blood, which Krafton has added to reduce the violent aspect of the title.
Being an India-only title, I expected a lot on localizing Battlegrounds Mobile India into regional flavors. This includes multilingual support where all graphics and voiceovers are translated into regional languages.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened, but I am looking forward to it in the upcoming updates. Although BGMI is made for 18+ players, publishers should have regulations and in-game monitoring in regional languages to avoid toxic and hate speech and abusive language.
Q. Any plans that Skyesports have for Battlegrounds Mobile India once it finally gets its official launch?
Shiva: Yes! We plan to add Battlegrounds Mobile India to our annual flagship IP, the Skyesports Championship 3.0, which was recently announced to have a massive prize pool of Rs. 55 lakhs.
Other than this, we are also planning to do more regional and grassroots level tournaments.