Potential relaunch of PUBG mobile game in India poses questions about future of game

While the game has been removed for a while from the market, there still exists a dedicated fanbase. Most of these players would be keen to play the game once more. However, there may be a drop in the total number of people playing this game compared to before the ban.

Anand Krishnaswamy November 25, 2020 13:36:54 IST
Potential relaunch of PUBG mobile game in India poses questions about future of game

PUBG Mobile India

Earlier this year, the widely popular PUBG Mobile was banned in India as it was perceived to be a risk to the country’s Cybersecurity. Despite this, on 21 November, PUBG India Pvt Ltd was officially registered with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

This is a clear move in line with the announcement by Krafton Game Union of South Korea that they will bring PUBG back into the Indian market in a new form, one that would be tailored to the needs of the Indian market.

The recent events bring up a few important questions about the future of the game in India. The biggest obviously is whether the Government of India will relax their previous decision about the game. The other questions are, will the Indian audience play the game again and how this game will link up with the variant of PUBG Mobile played by the rest of the world.

While the question about there being a relaxation made on the ban regarding PUBG is up in the air, the Ministry of Electronics and IT has claimed it would be difficult to accommodate any form of relaxation. While this is not a situation that can be predicted easily, I am of the opinion that the relaxation should be considered keeping in mind the overall betterment of the gaming industry within India. PUBG staying away from the country may result in a slowdown in the growth of this industry. With the game having removed their association with Tencent for the Indian market, it is possible that the situation may be reassessed.

While the game has been removed for a while from the market, there still exists a dedicated fanbase. Most of these players would be keen to play the game once more. However, there may be a drop in the total number of people playing this game compared to before the ban. The reason behind this is that these players would have invested the time they spent on PUBG into another game. The biggest winner of this whole episode is likely to be Call of Duty Mobile.

The final set of concerns will be how does the India specific version of the game connect with the international version. The Indian version will have major differences when compared to the international version of the game. These differences include the fact that the game for most of the international community is still handled by Tencent, while India variant is handled by Krafton Game Union in collaboration with Microsoft. The other major differences include the fact that the game setting will be that of a Virtual simulation training ground and the spray effects for hits will be green instead of red to reflect this fact. Unlike the original game, the players will start out fully clothed. There is also the plan to have some form of game time regulation to reduce risks of younger players playing the game to excessive levels.

The changes made to the game are quite significant and as such the probability of it being connected to the international version is rather unrealistic. Also, there is that fact that connecting the two versions of the game will result in a need to expose the game to some of the risks that had the Indian Government concerned.

There is a precedence of game developers making a special server for players in specific countries and ensuring the access to the server remains exclusive to the country in question. A good example of this is Valve Corporation and how their flagship game Dota 2 is managed and run by Openworld in China instead of their game service known as steam. The players not using the Openworld system are denied access to Chinese servers for matchmaking.

Looking at the full picture the return of PUBG to India is something the Indian Government should consider after placing conditions that would help remove the problems that required the game to be banned. The fact that PUBG was previously so popular will ensure that the game is still wanted by the gamers.

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