“India is favourably positioned for mobile gaming as a sport, as India is a mobile first country,” Rajen Vagadia, President, Qualcomm India & SAARC tells indianexpress.com over a call as Qualcomm gets ready to host its first e-sports event in the country. The first season of Snapdragon Conquest is focused on Garena Free Fire as it is one of the most popular mobile games in the country right now.
“The smartphone market is growing pretty fast, and it’s continuing to be one of the very few markets that will keep growing. Moreover, the Indian gaming community is the third largest globally, with around 365 million players and expected to grow to over half a billion in the next two to three years,” he pointed out.
Qualcomm Snapdragon Conquest: Duration, prize money
Qualcomm Snapdragon Conquest is an e-sports tournament that will last for around three months, during which the company will be distributing a total pool prize of Rs 50,00,000. The tournament is open for all Indian residents above the age of 12 with a Free Fire account above level 10. Eligible players can register on the tournament’s official website in a squad of four players. The tournament is completely free to enter with no registration fee required.
This will be a seasonal event with popular games rotating each season. Currently, the company is accepting registrations from interested players and will soon kick off its three-month long tournament.
In India, mobile gaming grew at a very fast pace with games like Candy Crush and Clash Royale starting the smartphone gaming trend, and games like PUBG Mobile, Free Fire and more adding fuel to it. But the largest growth in terms of mobile gamers seems to have come up during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, when a lot of people were sitting at home with not much to do. Vagadia says that’s the reason they want to “show commitment” to the market, and “thus help define the fundamentals of how mobile gaming will progress.”
“Through Conquest, we are creating sort of a community, a social community, and I call it a social competition in some sense. This community is basically challenging based on the skills and in the process, we get a deeper understanding of the gaming requirements of the community,” he added.
Snapdragon Contest: Learning opportunity for Qualcomm
According to Vagadia, Qualcomm wants to deliver top notch features to meet the expectations of consumers in India and in the global market. Such a tournament will help them understand what players require in terms of performance, he pointed out. It will also “ensure that the gamers get the right solutions and the platforms for experiencing the best immersive experiences,” he added.
Still, the Snapdragon Conquest will be platform neutral. This means that there will be no restrictions for players on the basis of chipset or brand tie-ups or anything else. It will simply be a platform that is open for everybody to prove their skills. Only the games during each season will keep changing so that “everybody gets an opportunity,” he explained.
Each year will consist of three to four seasons, just like normal e-sports tournaments. The reason Garena Free Fire was chosen this time is due to the “width of visibility and the adaptability of the game across all the platforms,” he said.
When asked on what Indian gamers are demanding from their smartphones, Vagadia said that, “Gamers want everything, a good processor, a good display resolution, good connectivity, good battery life, faster touch response and more, as all of this is used while gaming to enhance the experience.”
“In India gaming is done from the mid-tier to the highest tier and Qualcomm believes that this democratisation of any aspect has to happen,” he added.
Gaming is a very intense task and requires a lot of device resources than most other tasks as it requires refreshing the streams very quickly. Thus rendering the animations, the depth and the colours takes up huge amounts on resources, which according to Vagadia, are currently being exhausted on phones. This is an area that Qualcomm is focusing on. He states that this will be a huge learning experience for the company to see how 5G impacts the lives of gamers and how it changes the gaming communities.
Snapdragon Contest: Keeping it an even contest
Given that the ‘Snapdragon Conquest: Free Fire Open 2020’ is being held online, there are chances of cheaters trying to get into the matches to win the prize pool. To get rid of such people Qualcomm is working with Garena to moderate all of the games during the tournament. There will be anti-cheat layers implemented inside of the game. All of the device data will be going via the moderators, including what device is being used to play the game. If a person is found using an emulator, they will be disqualified immediately.
With players across India using different devices, it can become a disadvantage for those playing on low-end smartphones versus those playing on high-end smartphones. But Vagadia disagrees. “A device can do only so much. It is about the skill of the gamer and not about the device. It is only going to be a disadvantage because everybody starts from zero, but due to the game being around for some time, players have understood it and mastered it,” he said.
“Plus if we take a look at the smartphone distribution also in India, it’s fairly well balanced and not very skewed,” he added.
When asked about special tournaments or categories for women or specially-abled people Vagadia said, “Conquest is a long term focus for Qualcomm in India and then global. And due to it being a democratised tournament having special categories where everyone cannot compete is not the goal. But if the need be when the platform grows, we would add all the necessary categories to it.”
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