In a review by Esports Charts, we see Mobile Legends and PUBG Mobile rule the largest mobile esports community.
The population of mobile gaming in esports is snowballing to compete alongside the mainstream world of PC gaming. Roughly 2.6 billion people in the world are mobile gamers and a huge portion of this population comprises gamers from Asia. The populous continent is saturated with mobile esports of various titles. And among the vast selection, what exactly are the hot picks for the Asian region? Esports Charts revealed the top mobile games by hours watched (HW) from specific countries of South, East, and Southeast Asia. This report does not include statistics from China due to the unreliable nature of the data from the country.
Mobile Legends and PUBG Mobile reign supreme in Asia
Moonton’s Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is relatively new in esports and it’s already conquering the mobile esports scene in Asia. According to BusinessWorld, Mobile Legends has over 1 billion installs and 100 million active users. Its million-dollar global tournament, M3 World Championship is also set to take place in December 2021.
MPL (Mobile Legends Pro League) in Indonesia regularly beats viewership records, outnumbering big names in esports such as Fortnite and Dota 2. As of today, Mobile Legends is the undisputed king of mobile MOBA in Asia, holding the most influence in Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
The mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds also holds the biggest influence in the Asian region. Similar to Mobile Legends, PUBGM is a part of the 1 billion installs club and in 2020, it accumulated $2.6 billion in revenue.
In September 2020, PUBGM established relations with the Chinese giant, Tencent, which led to India banning the popular battle royale. This took a heavy toll on PUBGM, as India held 50% of its player base. Nevertheless, PUBGM remains one of the most popular mobile games and the most popular battle royale in Asia. It holds the most influence in 8 countries – Mongolia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Japan.
Other Mobile Titles Rule the Rest of the Continent
In Sri Lanka and India, Garena’s Free Fire stands at the top with 11k HW and 2.5 million HW respectively. Prior to the PUBGM ban in India, PUBGM was the top mobile game in the region. The aftermath of the ban allowed other titles to take over and it resulted in Free Fire’s dominance in the region.
Free Fire is a strong competitor for PUBGM in Asia, but its market currently weighs heavily in one portion of the continent. The Free Fire World Series 2021 Singapore also became the most-watched esports event of all time, attracting 5.4 million peak concurrent viewers.
In Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, and Macau, Tencent’s Arena of Valor conquers the mobile gaming scene. The game is an international adaptation of Honor of Kings, a LoL-inspired China-only mobile MOBA. Arena of Valor is also the fourth most popular mobile game in 2020, behind mobile giants Mobile Legends, Free Fire, and PUBGM.
The South Korean region has a lackluster scene for mobile gaming and the leading mobile game, Clash of Clans accumulated only 12k HW in total. Hong Kong sees Wid Rift, a mobile League of Legends on the top with 23.5k HW.
The Mobile Esports industry is not Slowing Down
In 2019, mobile gaming had a spur of growth, thanks to the stay-at-home phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of world lockdowns witnessed the largest quarter of mobile games ever, with more than 13 billion installs across the App Store and Google Play. That is 2 billion more than the previous quarter of 2019, according to gamesindustry.
Mobile esports, despite its young age in comparison to consoles and PCs, is now a legitimate force in the industry. For the debut of esports in the 2022 Asian Games, two mobile titles, PUBGM and Arena of Valor will be included alongside huge esports titles such as Dota 2 and League of Legends. The mobile game industry has also overtaken the other mainstream platform of esports in terms of revenue. In 2020, mobile gaming generated $77.2 billion, the highest revenue in the global gaming market.
As esports continues to grow, we will also see the mobile community equally thrive. Although it is heavily saturated in one part of the world, the western scene might soon experience mobile esports penetration. The west is starting to set foot in the mobile world as we see many organizations in NA acquiring rosters for Wild Rift. The CIS titan NAVI also recently picked up its own Mobile Legends lineup.