PUBG Mobile to make a comeback in India

India Technology

The South Korean developer behind the banned PUBG mobile has announced today the game is being relaunched under a new title.

Bengaluru: PUBG Mobile, the mobile version of the popular Battle-Royale game is making a comeback in India. Ten months after it was banned by India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the developer behind the original game has announced that the game will be re-launched under a new title.

Krafton, the South Korean developer behind the game, has announced today that “Battlegrounds Mobile India” is coming to India and will act as a replacement to PUBG Mobile. 

The game will have a period of pre-registration before the official launch, according to the press release and will be an India-only exclusive. Similar to PUBG Mobile, the new game will be free-to-play, unlike its sister game PUBG: New State, which is expected to launch as a paid offering.

The developer also announced that it will collaborate with local partners to build an e-sports ecosystem, starting with a series of India-specific in-game events at launch and promised regular in-game content, in line with other free-to-play battle-royale titles such as Fortnite and Call of Duty Mobile.

When the Indian government banned a plethora of Chinese apps from the Indian market, one of the reasons given was to protect users’ privacy. PUBG Mobile, despite being developed by a South Korean developer was given the axe, for its close ties with Tencent Corporation – one of China’s premier tech companies. PUBG was also accused of sharing Indian players’ data with Tencent and was denied appeals for reinstatement.

With the launch of the new title, Krafton has assured that privacy and data security will be a top priority, and hence the India-only exclusivity. This will mean the game will have a locally setup server, ensuring all data collection and storage will be in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in India.

The developer hasn’t announced specific timelines for the launch and pre-registration of the game yet. There is also no clarity on whether players can carry over their existing profiles from PUBG mobile to the new game.

With over 50 million daily active users, and a lifetime global revenue of over $3 billion USD, shortly before its ban, PUBG Mobile was one of the most popular games in India, surpassing even PC titles such as CS: GO. The relatively moderate specs required to run the game, along with cheap 4G internet made it highly.

PUBG Mobile also boosted the esports arena in the country with tournaments such as PUBG Mobile India Series 2020, with a prize pool of more than $60,000 USD.

In early 2020, due to the pandemic, as more and more people started to embrace gaming, PUBG Mobile had an average of 65 million daily active users while itsit’s lifetime revenue doubled within a period of just seven months. After India’s ban, in December 2020, the numbers had dropped to more than half at 30 million daily active users.

Naman Mathur, a professional esports player popularly known as “mortal” is excited about PUBG’s relaunch. 

“I was eagerly waiting for PUBG:New State’s launch,” he said. “But a new free-to-play replacement for PUBG Mobile is amazing news.” 

Mathur was placed third in “Mobile Player of the Year 2020” category at the Esports Awards 2020. A member of the professional PUBG team “8bit”, he has been transitioning to other games after PUBG’s demise. He’s been streaming “Falls Guys” and “Among Us”, while also indulging in other FPS titles such as “Fire Fire” and “Call of Duty”. 

“Since PUBG’s ban, the gaming landscape has changed, Free Fire and COD Mobile (Call of Duty) have filled PUBG’s void,” he said. “I hope they have better content and better performance and, or it won’t be any different from the existing games.”