Bengaluru-based teacher Ibakodor K. Lysner has won close to ₹2 lakh on Mobile Premier League (MPL), a gaming platform that hosts 30 online games. “Ever since I stumbled upon MPL in 2018, I have been gaming regularly on the app. So far, I have played close to 770 tournaments. It is only when I started winning real cash money on the app that I truly understood the potential of mobile gaming." Lysner started playing during her commute and now spends up to 2 hours every day on the platform.
Mobile penetration and the availability of 4G speeds at affordable prices has created a new segment of online casual gamers looking for something simpler and less time consuming than PUBG Mobile. People don’t want to play against the computer though, and are seeking out actual players for a more challenging and satisfying experience. Gaming platforms like MPL, HitWicket and PokerBaazi are not only giving them that but are also offering money through prizes.
HitWicket Superstars, which is still in Beta, already has 500,000 users in four weeks and will host its first online tournament later this month with ₹25 lakh to be won. PokerBaazi, which also has 500,000 users, started with poker tournaments with a prize pool of ₹10 lakh. It recently held what it claims was India’s biggest online poker tournament with a pool prize of ₹3.77 crore. “There are more than 250 million mobile gamers in India. The great mass of Indian casual gamers are increasingly seeking out more immersive and challenging experiences," says Kashyap Reddy, CEO and co-founder of HitWicket.
While PUBG Mobile was one of the first mobile games that made mobile gaming popular in India, its user base has been limited to younger audience and powerful handsets. Games like Hitwicket, PokerBaazi and MPL’s Fruit Chop and Runner No. 1 are less hardware intensive and work well with entry-level smartphones. “A platform like MPL does not require any particular setup in the technical sense. All you need is a data enabled mobile phone. Games on MPL are simple and casual in nature. Since they have low entry barriers it ensures that it appeals to people at different skill levels and from across a broad spectrum of age groups and different backgrounds," says Sai Srinivas Kiran G, co-founder and CEO, MPL.
Hitwicket and PokerBaazi are platforms revolving around cricket and poker, unlike MPL which hosts around 30 casual games and has over 25 million players on board.
Srinivas notes that a platform like MPL is a stepping-stone for casual gamers in India and foresees more gamers taking up mobile games as a profession in the future.