Being the world’s fifth-most populous country with a population exceeding 225.2 million, Pakistan has its own thriving e-sports community despite lacking in some much-needed development.
With local gamers facing severe issues such as load-shedding, the ever infuriating lag, and almost no gaming organizations (that have managed to last more than a few months at least), Pakistan has still managed to have notable success stories. The Hassan brothers of Dota, Arslan “Ash” Siddique, the king of Tekken, and the rising Valorant star Shahzeb Khan to name a few.
In this article, we will look at just some of the most popular e-sports in the country. We will only be looking at the ones that have a somewhat existing competitive scene.
While many in the gaming community may look down on mobile gamers as “not being real gamers,” in a country where most can’t even afford a PC, let alone a high-end one, they are left with no other options.
Belonging to the Battle Royale genre, the game can be seen being played in almost every street of the country. Especially popular among Pakistani youtube streamers who have gathered large follower bases showing off their plays.
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While there have been no significant tournaments solely for PUBG, it is almost certainly part of every university/city level tournament. It always attracts players in large amounts due to ease of accessibility.
Going from mobile to console gaming might shock some not to see a PC game in the top two. Still, the reasoning here is the PC gamer base being much divided, as we will see later, and PC games requiring far more commitment, comparatively.
Being very easy to learn even for new gamers, the game has gained popularity primarily due to being fun and being football-based, a game quickly gaining popularity in most cities and also since cricket hasn’t had a good game in nearly a decade.
Since organizing a FIFA tournament takes minor effort/funds, out of all the games on the list, they are the most frequent and widespread.
Finally arriving our first PC game. If you have ever entered a gaming zone in Pakistan and heard people shouting at each other, they are probably playing Counter-Strike.
Since its older iteration, the game has been especially popular in the country; CS 1.6 could run on even low-end PCs, making it much more affordable for the average Pakistani.
Its latest version CS Global Offensive has managed to retain much of the original player base in the country. While almost no local player of the FPS game has made it to the international stage, it is still as popular as ever.
Our second PC game for the list. The king of e-sports (at least in monetary terms), the game has a huge player base in Pakistan. The game gained extreme notoriety when the Pakistani gamer Sumail “Suma1l” Hassan with his team EG won the TI5 (basically the world cup of DOTA 2 held every year) in 2015.
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The news was on every major channel, and considering the prize money for the tournament was $18 million, a record for the time (also later broken by DOTA 2 itself in consecutive years), many parents seriously started to reconsider their children’s gaming careers.
5-Call of Duty
Our second PC FPS game for the list. While the game also has had a considerable gamer base, it mostly got overshadowed by the fore mentioned Counter-Strike due to requiring a better PC which has always been the bane of most games.
The game, however, is still in contention for most popular games in the country due to it also being a popular console game. While the PC version of the game is nearly dead, it successfully transitioned to the console gaming scene in Pakistan.