Media and software company Esports Mogul (ASX: ESH) has ventured into the Indian eSports market after signing its maiden commercial partnership in the country with eSports organiser Critical X.
Partnering with Mogul will allow the Indian company to offer an unprecedented set of features to Indian gamers and its 5 million-strong fan base as well as tapping into the sprawling commerciality offered by mobile gaming.
Meanwhile, Mogul said it will deliver the world’s most advanced pure-play online eSports tournament platform to the second most active mobile gaming market.
“After building our large fan base, partnering with Mogul will allow us to offer our gamers tournaments and a subscription feature like never before,” said Critical X’s director, Abhishek Joshi.
“I’m eager to get closer to our community, providing an entirely new way for them to engage with our brand, while monetising our offer,” he said.
Today’s announcement follows last week’s outreach into South East Asia as Mogul signed up Channel8Games and NEX Studio as branded hub partners, adding to existing agreements with influencer talent agency Tier One and South East Asia’s largest independent League of Legends influencers EmiEmiTV.
Playing for commerce
The deal between Mogul and Critical X is an attempt to court the rapidly growing mobile gaming market and opens the door to a revenue generative partnership within a country that sports one of the highest smartphone adoption rates in the world.
The two companies have collaborated to host free tournaments on the Mogul platform in the past with Critical X currently established as a leading entity in India’s eSports market with an addressable audience of several million dedicated gamers across India.
According to Critical X, it currently serves as a tournament organiser, talent manager and partners with household gaming event organisers such as Rage Quit and We Love Lan.
Under the newly signed agreement, Critical X will launch a Mogul-built branded hub and offering paid monthly subscriptions targeting mobile gamers in India.
The subscription feature will offer members exclusive tournaments, priority registration and raffles for gamers and eSports contestants as part of a broader plan to extend both brands across India.
Shooting for more customers
Critical X and Mogul will also offer cash prizes for gamers that compete in tournament series for mobile game titles such as Free Fire and PUBG Mobile.
PUBG has been downloaded over 100 million times on the Google Play store alone with paid in-app products offered to players allowing its developer, Tencent Games, to scoop over $1 billion in revenues across all devices.
In the Chinese market, PUBG Mobile has amassed gross revenues of around $160 million in August this year, up from $25 million in August 2018 – a growth rate of 540%.
Meanwhile, India is the second-largest mobile market in the world, with over 400 million smartphone users and a mobile gaming market forecast to reach US$2.4 billion (A$3.5 billion) next year.
Mogul and Critical X hope to cash in on the surge in mobile gaming popularity with games like PUBG Mobile attracting the most attention from players. Mogul said it will retain 80% of the revenue from the fan subscriptions as well as 20% of the revenue from advertising and sponsorship activities conducted alongside Critical X.
With the ink on the deal barely dry, both companies have confirmed that they plan to launch paid monthly subscriptions and pre-registration for tournaments later this month.
In order to ensure Mogul can effectively monetise its market entry into India, the company said it has successfully integrated with local Indian payment gateway, Paytm, to accept local currency payments in the region.
Paytm is currently India’s leading payment gateway which offers mobile payments from cards, bank accounts and digital credits from one platform.
“This partnership with Critical X is an exciting time for Mogul, as not only can we expand Critical X’s offering to their community, but it signifies two key milestones for the company – entering the massive Indian market and integrating with a local payment gateway, Paytm, to accept payments in India’s local currency,” said Mogul’s chief marketing officer Mark Warburton.
Mogul is also likely to leverage the guidance and market expertise of recently appointed Canva co-founder Cameron Adams.
With the tech visionary appointed as a non-executive director, he is expected to provide specialist expertise in helping Mogul to establish high-profile revenue-generating partnerships and attracting a broader global fan and gamer audience.