PMWI 2023 Viewership Growth: Regional Streams grow, Indian omission felt
The PMWI 2023 was held at Gamers8 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for the second year in a row, and recorded a rise in the overall viewership of the competition. Vampire Esports have become almost synonymous with the PUBG Mobile World Invitational (PMWI), securing historic back-to-back victories in the historic competition.
PUBG Mobile esports’ viewership grew sharply during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 — a trend that was seen across esports as people were confined to their homes with more time to spend on their smartphones. However, as the world returned to normalcy in 2022, the viewership fall sharply. This put the question of whether this fall would be a trend that would continue or if it would stop. For PUBG Mobile esports, the PMWI 2023 numbers indicate that it’s the latter.
All the statistics have been recorded by the analytics site Esports Charts.
The PMWI 2023 sees growth in viewership powered by the regional language streams
The PMWI 2023 achieved a peak viewership of 516,830. This represents a 22.5 percent growth since 2022 when the peak was 421,769 viewers. The average viewership also saw a small increase of four percent, despite higher airtime, to 245,000.
There are many factors that can be credited to the growth in viewership, and one of them is the format change. Last year, the PMWI had a main tournament followed by the Afterparty Showdown. While the Afterparty Showdown did have some of the most popular teams from different regions, the event was more for fun as opposed to actually having any stakes.
The PMWI 2023, on the other hand, had a changed format consisting of the All Stars stage first, from where the top teams made it to the Main Tournament. The All-Stars stage featured the top teams voted from different regions and had higher stakes as the top six teams made it to the tournament. This changed format can be credited to a slight increase in viewership.
Strong regional language growth shows PUBG Mobile esports’ dominance worldwide
What really drove the viewership, though, was the strongest engagement from the regional language streams. Barring English and Urdu, which had good reasons for the fall in viewership, all other regional languages recorded growth.
The Nepali stream peaked at 106,000 up from 63,000 the year earlier. The Thai stream went from 22,000 to 37,000. Even the Spanish stream peaked at 22,000 – a sharp increase from the mere 4,000 it recorded in 2022. Similarly, the other languages also saw decent growth.
This can be a testament to the strong regional activities from Tencent to grow PUBG Mobile esports. This includes National Championships, Club Opens, regional Pro Leagues, and even the partnered Super League (PMSL) in SEA.
English and Urdu record a fall in viewership – unsurprisingly
The two languages which saw a sharp fall in peak viewership were English and Urdu. While English went from 136,000 to about 71,000, Urdu slipped from 43,000 to 20,000.
It’s not surprising to see a fall in English viewers. Last year, the PMWI featured an Indian team in the competition, while 2023 didn’t have any. However, due to the ban on BGMI in the country, there was no Hindi stream for the PMWI 2022. As a result, it can be assumed that most viewers switched over to watching it in English – a language commonly spoken in India.
Urdu, commonly spoken in Pakistan, also saw a fall. This can be largely blamed on the sole Pakistani team in the competition, AGONxI8 Esports, failing to make it out of the All-Stars stage. The team finished in eighth, unable to make it to the Main Tournament.
Some of it can also be blamed on the lack of a Hindi stream last year. With Urdu and Hindi being very similar in spoken terms, some Indian viewers last year might have watched the competition in the language.
Nonetheless, the overall increase in the number of viewers is a good sign for PUBG Mobile esports. It also shows the potential of the game in the future.