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PUBG Mobile Ban in India: Is the Government Going to Ban India’s Most Popular Game?

PUBG Mobile is a popular game in India with over 17.5 crore installs so far.

With the administration supposedly taking a gander at in excess of 250 Chinese apps for a potential ban, after a ban on more than 100 apps has already been arranged, rumors are that PUBG Mobile could finally be banned in India. Many in the nation seem set to invite the new move, however Gadgets 360 is yet to get a clarity on the matter. Nonetheless, many fans of the game have been requesting the authorities to exclude PUBG Mobile in any fresh list of banned apps.

The latest advancement comes just after the administration allegedly banned 47 Chinese apps on Monday. That move was a follow-up of the earlier ban under which 59 Chinese apps were banned in favor of ensuring “national interest and security” under the provisions of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act.

Although the administration didn’t give the list of apps it had banned under the new decision, it is said to consider denying PUBG Mobile among some other China-backed apps and games. It could be a part of the list of more than 250 apps that will allegedly be examined for any user privacy and national security violations. Be that as it may, ahead of any official announcement, the arrival of PUBG Mobile’s name in the news reports has taken social media by storm.

PUBG Mobile is a famous name with regards to versatile games in India. Created by China’s Tencent Games-claimed LightSpeed and Quantum Studio, the battle royale game has gotten 17.5 crore installs from India that is 24 percent of the total installs around the world, according to a report by Sensor Tower. It even garnered more installs than what it got from China, which has 16.7 percent share in its total installs.

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 income at the same scale, making around $2-3 million (generally Rs. 15-22 crores) on a month to month basis.

Craig Chapple, Mobile Insights Strategist, EMEA at Sensor Tower, revealed to Gadgets 360, refering to the data from Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates, that despite getting 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 (generally Rs. 704 crores). “For comparison, the United States’ versatile games market generated close to $10.1 billion from player spending during the same time frame,” he said.

The disparity in installs and revenues reflects in case of PUBG Mobile as well. Nonetheless, Chapple said that it is still a leading example that this sort of games can monetise in India.

“In India, the game has generated 180.3 million downloads to date, and generated $38.6 million [roughly Rs. 289 crores] in lifetime income. In the first half of 2020, it was India’s top grossing versatile game,” he noted.

Prachir Singh, a Senior Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research, disclosed to Gadgets 360 that PUBG Mobile’s popularity in India could be decided by the fact that many companies have used the game to advance their smartphones. Oppo and Vivo — themselves of Chinese root — are amongst the key vendors who hosted PUBG Mobile matches in the past.

Is PUBG Mobile really a Chinese game?

With the reports suggesting the potential ban of PUBG Mobile, some individuals have started raising comments that it’s a Korean game and not a Chinese one. This is surely valid for PUBG that is meant for web based gamers and is created and published by PUBG Corporation, which is a subsidiary of South Korean computer game company Bluehole. Be that as it may, PUBG Mobile was created in a collaboration between PUBG Corporation and Shenzhen-headquartered Tencent Games. It, thus, has some relation with China.

Nevertheless, some industry watchers feel PUBG Mobile’s China association is weak, and Chapple of Sensor Tower says, “I would take note of that the PUBG IP is claimed by PUBG Corp, which is part of Krafton Game Union, a South Korea-based holding company.”

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Versatile gaming market increased significantly, yet brimming with casual gamers

Singh, from Counterpoint, featured that the versatile gaming market in India has developed rapidly in the last scarcely any years as smartphone penetration has increased and data rates have diminished. It is also accepted to be one of the best five versatile gaming markets in terms of the quantity of users. Nonetheless, there is still the domination of casual gamers over their professional counterparts.

“I accept that the significant level of engagement will increase the quantity of professional gamers in the near future,” said Singh. “I accept the expansion of e-sports will certainly help in the development of professional gamers.”

The majority of casual gamers is one reason behind the developing popularity of PUBG Mobile as it gained fame mainly through informal. It became so notable that diverse local administrations have banned it in the past, seeing it as detrimental to education. Back in January last year, the Gujarat government provided a circular to impose a ban on PUBG. That circular was supposedly for PUBG Mobile and not its PC version. It came just after a student’s body in Jammu and Kashmir had sought a ban of PUBG Mobile, blaming it for resulting in their helpless examination performance.

Would India get any impact from the PUBG Mobile ban?

One of the popular alternatives to PUBG Mobile is Fortnite. Be that as it may, since the latter requires all the more impressive hardware and doesn’t perform well on passage level Android devices, India is mostly a PUBG-nation so far. This is a major reason why many individuals are demanding the legislature to reject PUBG Mobile from its banning plans. Many gamers are upset about its potential ban and expressing their views on social media.

Singh, of Counterpoint, revealed to Gadgets 360 that banning PUBG Mobile would lead to a greater outage than what developed when 59 apps were banned previously. “This is because of the large number of active PUBG Mobile players in India,” he said.

Having said that, there are a lot of alternatives to PUBG Mobile on both Apple App Store and Google Play. Call of Duty: Mobile, Butter Royale, Garena Free Fire, and Fortnite are among the games that could be played in the absence of PUBG Mobile to get a similar encounter. Singh said that all these would stand to profit the most if the game is banned in the nation. Sensor Tower’s Chapple said that particularly Garena Free Fire from Garena Games is already a popular shooter game in India, with an estimated lifetime income of $15.3 million (generally Rs. 114 crores) and accumulated 13.02 crore downloads.

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