PUBG Mobile and its story in India is quite interesting topic right now. The game which entered into the country and took over the masses to become the most popular title in India is now facing a banishment.
This rollercoaster ride is filled with ups and downs and still, the future of this game is vague. While most of the player base is enjoying the game despite the ban, the actual impact has taken place on the mobile esports industry in the country. So, what could be the future of PUBG Mobile in India is a very important question at this point of time and the answer to it is quite complex.
PUBG Mobile was banned by the IT Ministry of India on September 2nd. This ban was imposed during the escalating tension between China and India border along the LAC. This was the third ban-wave in the country where more than 100 Chinese apps alongside PUBG Mobile were banned because of user privacy issues. The official reason stated by the government was that the apps are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, Defence of India, Security of State and Public Order.”
The severe impacts of this ban were shared alike by professionals working in PUBG Mobile esports ecosystem and Tencent itself. The entire system of tournaments, content creation, production came halted in India and the game publishers also faced some consequences due to this decision.
IMPACT OF PUBG MOBILE BAN IN INDIA:
The entire player base in the country was caught off-guard due to this ban and it halted the rising mobile esports industry in India. PUBG Mobile pros were confused due to this ban and were forced to give up their invitational slots of PUBG Mobile Pro League: South Asia Fall Split.
The PUBG Mobile content creators were instantly having divided stances on this decision. Some demanded for the reversal of this imposition and some conveyed about their changing future plans. Famous names like Scout and Mortal were among the very first to address their fans where both of them urged their viewers to keep calm and announced their future plans in a short stream.
IMPACT OF BAN ON TENCENT HOLDINGS:
Tencent faced a severe impact of this ban as their share value dropped drastically after the ban was announced. According to Reuters, “Shares of Chinese gaming and social media powerhouse Tencent fell more than 2% on Sep 03, 2020 after India banned 118 mobile apps, including the firm’s popular videogame PUBG.
This reportedly led Tencent to lose over $14 billion. The Chinese conglomerate faced a heavy financial backlash due to India’s decision to ban this game.
EVENTS THAT PRECEDED AFTER THE BAN:
Some major events took place following the PUBG Mobile ban in India. From major bonds getting severed for the sake of a single region to plausible rumoured partnerships between titans across the country, PUBG Mobile led the way to a long train of thoughts which paved its way to build a very hazy picture of PUBG Mobile’s future into the country.
PUBG CORPORATION’S REACTION TO THIS BAN:
One week after the ban was stated, PUBG Corporation issued a statement where they made some major changes that could be seen as the first step towards lifting this ban. PUBG Corp. severed their ties with Tencent Holdings and assumed complete control over publishing and distribution rights of PUBG Mobile in India.
They also gave assurances that pointed towards localized content and tournaments for the region. This can be compared to Game for Peace; the Chinese variant of PUBG Mobile; or PUBG Mobile Korea, which has its own local variant separated from the global version. This meant that India could get their own separate game with PUBG Corporation as the publishers.
JIO AND PUBG PARTNERSHIP
Soon after PUBG Corporation announced about their plans for India, rumors started flying around and various news surfaced on the internet.
The major news came within a week where reports suggested that PUBG Corporation were in talks with Indian telecommunication titan Jio for discussing a potential partnership.
The distribution and publishing rights were on the table for this partnership but later, these rumors faded away and no further reports were published talking about the developments of this arrangement.
MOVES BY INDIAN ESPORTS ORGANISATIONS:
Megastars was the first Indian organization to drop their PUBG Mobile and several other teams followed the suit. Other prominent organizations in India are still waiting on their decision about the future of their PUBG Mobile rosters in India. Indian organizations named Stalwart Esports and FutureStation Gaming decided to shift their base from India to other South Asian regions to be able to compete in PMPL: South Asia Fall Split.
“PUBG MOBILE BAN IN INDIA IS GOING TO BE PERMANENT”
A major news was released by InsideSport where their sources had revealed that “MeitY is in no hurry to revoke the ban on PUBG or any other banned Chinese app.” It also stated that this “mere announcement” from PUBG Corporation to severe its ties with Tencent Games in India is not enough for the ban to be revoked. The entire statement read:
THERE IS NO DISCUSSION WITHIN THE MINISTRY OFFICIALS TO REVOKE THE BAN ON ANY OF THE APPS LISTED IN THE BAN LIST. WE WILL STAY AWAY FROM MAKING ANY COMMENT ON ANY SPECIFIC COMPANY OR APPMinistry Source
PUBG CORP. MERGER WITH KRAFTON
PUBG Corporation recently announced a merger with Krafton Inc. This merger took the entirety of PUBG Corp. under the umbrella of Krafton alongside all the distribution and development operations of the company’s famous battle-royale title PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds.
This is not linked to PUBG Mobile ban or unban in India but can change a few things in the future. As mentioned above, PUBG Corp assumed full control over PUBG Mobile IP in India and now as the company itself has merged with Krafton; its parent company; there may be few changes that can take place with the PUBG Mobile publishing rights in India.
TENCENT SHUTS DOWN OPERATIONS IN INDIA:
This was the final nail in the coffin for the PUBG Mobile story in India. Tencent finally shuts down their operations in the country which rendered PUBG Mobile inaccessible in the country.
Despite the ban, most of the casual players were still enjoying the game with various third-party stores but with this announcement, PUBG Mobile servers in India have been shut down and hence, the PUBG Mobile chapter in India is entirely closed for now.
POSSIBILITIES OF PUBG MOBILE UNBAN IN THE COUNTRY:
Before speculating anything, we would like to state that further statements are plausible future predictions about PUBG Mobile’s future in India and hence, there is always a probability of things turning into a completely different direction.
Firstly, considering the final Tencent shutdown as a basis, there is a strong possibility that a local counterpart of PUBG Mobile might be in the making and might be announced in the future.
Furthermore, when PUBG corporation released a statement in which they stated their will to “continue to engage” with Indian PUBG Mobile fans and the fact that India was a large marketplace to the game take this ban issue to become one of the priority tasks to handle for such a large company.
All of these things point towards a potential of PUBG Mobile getting unbanned in coming future and hence, we can see a closure to this large series of events very soon.