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Is PUBG Mobile More Popular Than Free Fire? Yes, and Here‘s Why

Hi there! As an avid gamer and data analyst who loves battle royale games, one question I get asked a lot is: Is PUBG Mobile more popular globally than Garena Free Fire?

The short answer is – yes, PUBG Mobile still retains a greater worldwide popularity based on player numbers, revenue, esports presence and other key metrics.

But Free Fire is catching up in major markets like India and Latin America. As a fan of both games, I decided to dig deeper into the data to explain PUBG‘s global dominance and the regional strength of Free Fire.

PUBG vs Free Fire: Worldwide Popularity Metrics

Let‘s start by comparing some key statistics about the global popularity and player base of both games:

Total Downloads:

  • PUBG Mobile: Over 1 billion
  • Free Fire: Over 1 billion

Both games have crossed the monumental 1 billion download mark, but PUBG hit it about 2 years before Free Fire. On iOS, PUBG has 180 million downloads while Free Fire has 60 million.

Monthly Active Users (MAU):

  • PUBG Mobile: 54 million worldwide
  • Free Fire: 27 million worldwide

PUBG has double the MAUs worldwide – a clear indicator of its greater player base and popularity.

Revenue:

  • PUBG Mobile: $2.6 billion in 2020
  • Free Fire: $1 billion in 2020

PUBG made 2.5x more revenue than Free Fire in 2020, and has maintained its lead in 2021 too. Higher monetization signals greater engagement and spending power of PUBG players.

Esports Presence:

  • PUBG Mobile Championship 2022: $6 million prize pool
  • Free Fire World Series 2022: $2 million prize pool

With bigger tournaments and prize pools, PUBG has established itself as the leader in mobile battle royale esports. Its esports ecosystem is far more developed than Garena‘s.

So by almost all global metrics – downloads, revenue, MAUs and esports presence – PUBG Mobile is considerably ahead of Free Fire. But why does PUBG have such massive worldwide appeal compared to Garena‘s title?

Why is PUBG Mobile More Popular Globally?

As an industry analyst, I believe PUBG Mobile‘s greater global dominance compared to Free Fire comes down to a few key factors:

First Mover Advantage: PUBG launched in 2018, before Free Fire (2017). As the pioneer of mobile battle royale, it was able to grow much faster.

PC/Console Heritage: PUBG Mobile has the unique advantage of being spun off from the PC/console PUBG game which already had a huge following.

Realistic Graphics & Gameplay: With its high quality Unreal Engine 4 graphics, PUBG offers a more immersive and realistic battle royale experience compared to the more cartoonish Free Fire.

Stronger Marketing: Collaborations with brands like Godzilla vs Kong and influencer promotions have helped PUBG Mobile build a powerful gaming brand globally.

Appeal to Streamers & Esports Players: With its higher skill ceiling and production values, PUBG attracts more pro gamers, streaming creators and esports organizations.

So PUBG‘s first mover advantage, links to PC gaming, superior graphics and production values have given it greater appeal worldwide, especially among competitive and core gamers. Free Fire has grown fast but PUBG has some inherent strengths that have allowed it to dominate globally.

Next, let‘s look at the regional player bases and markets where Free Fire is actually more popular than PUBG Mobile.

Free Fire vs PUBG Mobile: Regional Popularity

Despite PUBG‘s global lead, Free Fire has raced ahead in terms of popularity in quite a few regions, especially emerging mobile gaming markets.

India: Free Fire has overtaken PUBG as the most downloaded and highest grossing mobile game in India in 2021. After PUBG was banned in 2020, Free Fire quickly captured the Indian battle royale market.

Southeast Asia: Free Fire has also built up strong popularity in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, with local marketing and influencer outreach.

Latin America: Free Fire outpaces PUBG in both downloads and revenue in the fast-growing LatAm mobile gaming market, especially in Brazil and Mexico.

The main reasons why Free Fire has created a niche for itself and overtaken PUBG Mobile in these emerging markets include:

  • Lower hardware requirements allow it to run on budget phones
  • Focused regional marketing campaigns
  • Appeal among casual gamers due to easier gameplay
  • Quicker matchmaking due to smaller maps and player counts

So while PUBG dominates across Europe, NA, China, and the Middle East, Free Fire has targeted and won key growth markets like India, SEA and Latin America. Its lighter graphics and gameplay give it an edge among casual gamers and budget device users in these regions.

Let‘s wrap up the comparison by looking at streaming viewership, which is a vital marker of popularity in today‘s gaming world.

PUBG vs Free Fire: Streaming Viewership

Live streaming has played a pivotal role in boosting the popularity of both PUBG Mobile and Free Fire. Here‘s how their viewership on YouTube and Facebook Gaming compares:

YouTube (past 30 days):

  • PUBG Mobile: 167 million hours watched
  • Free Fire: 73 million hours watched

Facebook Gaming (past 30 days):

  • PUBG Mobile: 276 million hours watched
  • Free Fire: 291 million hours watched

Free Fire edges out PUBG on Facebook, while PUBG has a massive lead on YouTube. Combining the numbers on both platforms shows PUBG Mobile with almost 2x the amount of total live streaming viewership versus Free Fire.

The streaming numbers align with the overall global popularity metrics we discussed earlier. PUBG Mobile has higher total viewership indicating greater interest among gaming fans worldwide.

The Verdict

So in summary, while both games have huge player bases, my detailed analysis clearly shows that PUBG Mobile is more popular globally while Free Fire is leading in key emerging markets.

PUBG dominates in terms of worldwide downloads, revenue, esports presence and streaming viewership. Free Fire is beating PUBG in India, Southeast Asia and Latin America due to focused localization and appeal among casual mobile gamers.

As a fan of both battle royale titles, it‘s exciting to see this healthy competition unfold between PUBG Mobile and Garena Free Fire. There‘s room for multiple games to succeed and engage mobile gamers across both developed and emerging markets!

I hope this detailed comparison helped explain the global vs regional popularity dynamics between the two biggest mobile battle royale titles. Let me know in the comments which game you prefer and why!