With the government reportedly taking a look at more than 275 Chinese apps for a potential ban, after a ban on over 100 apps has already been ordered, rumours are that PUBG Mobile could finally be banned in India. Many in the country seem set to welcome the new move, though Gadgets 360 is yet to receive a clarity on the matter. However, many fans of the game have been requesting the authorities to not include PUBG Mobile in any fresh list of banned apps.
What is PUBG Mobile?
PUBG is a battle royale game developed by PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of South Korean video game company Bluehole. The game is available on PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Mobile. The game was created by Brendan Greene (PlayerUnknown) and released back in 2017.
The game starts with 100 players jumping onto an abandoned island and turning it into a battlefield. The last player left standing wins the match and gets the metaphorical ‘Chicken Dinner’. The game is quite fast-paced with the safe zone collapsing and wild elements like the Red Zone. It is the game that is credited with popularizing the battle royale genre of gaming.
Apart from installs, there are many Indian gamers who actively stream PUBG Mobile through their channels on Twitch and YouTube. Niko Partners Senior Analyst Daniel Ahmad tweeted that while the game has a large base in India, it doesn't generate revenue at the same scale, making around $2-3 million (roughly Rs. 15-22 crores) on a monthly basis.
Craig Chapple, Mobile Insights Strategist, EMEA at Sensor Tower, told Gadgets 360, citing the data from Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates, that despite receiving close to 450 crore new installs from Apple App Store and Google Play in the first half of 2020, India ranks low for player spending, generating approximately $94 million (roughly Rs. 704 crores). "For comparison, the United States' mobile games market generated close to $10.1 billion from player spending during the same period," he said.
The disparity in installs and revenues reflects in case of PUBG Mobile as well. However, Chapple said that it is still a leading example that this type of games can monetise in India.
Although the government didn't provide the list of apps it had banned under the new decision, it is said to be considering prohibiting PUBG Mobile among some other China-backed apps and games, including AliExpress, Ludo World, Resso, ULIke, and Zili, Other developers such as LBE Tech.
It could be a part of the list of over 275 apps that will reportedly be examined for any user privacy and national security violations. However, ahead of any official announcement, the arrival of PUBG Mobile's name in the news reports has taken social media by storm.
In India, the game has generated 180.3 million downloads to date, and generated $38.6 million [roughly Rs. 289 crores in lifetime revenue. In the first half of 2020, it was India's top grossing mobile game.
Is PUBG Mobile really a Chinese game?
With the reports suggesting the potential ban of PUBG Mobile, some people have started raising comments that it's a Korean game and not a Chinese one. This is indeed true for PUBG that is meant for online gamers and is developed and published by PUBG Corporation, which is a subsidiary of South Korean video game company Bluehole. However, PUBG Mobile was created in a collaboration between PUBG Corporation and Shenzhen-headquartered Tencent Game. It, thus, has some relation with China.
Nevertheless, some industry watchers feel PUBG Mobile's China connection is weak, and Chapple of Sensor Tower says, "I would note that the PUBG IP is owned by PUBG Corp, which is part of Krafton Game Union, a South Korea-based holding company."
Would India get any impact from the PUBG Mobile ban?
One of the popular alternatives to PUBG Mobile is Fortnite. But since the latter requires more powerful hardware and doesn't perform well on entry-level Android devices, India is chiefly a PUBG-country so far. This is a major reason why many people are demanding the government to exclude PUBG Mobile from its banning plans. Many gamers are upset about its potential ban and expressing their views on social media.