PUBG Unban: On the sidelines of the Indo-China border dispute, Ministry of Information & Technology on Wednesday banned PUBG and 117 other mobile applications.
Here’s the interesting part PUBG unban is still a question but even after ban PUBG Mobile is still being played in the country, despite the ban in place. We learn once again that it’s extremely difficult to enforce a ban on a game that’s a global phenomenon.
It has been 50 days since the Ban on PUBG was announced. The battle royale esports title has been unavailable for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. A few weeks back we were successfully able to open the official website, download the new update, and play in the Asia server along with other Indians. Have things changed since then?
We are still able to use Samsung and Xiaomi phones to auto-download the most recent PUBG Mobile update through their own browsers.
So more importantly are gamers still playing this game?
Yes, there are players who are playing the game casually as well as competitively in scrims. These scrims offer a relatively small prize pool of 10k-15k, in which hundreds of teams are participating.
PUBG is streamed On YouTube, popular Indian game streamers like MortaL, DynamoGaming, have switched to streaming titles like Among US, Valorant, etc. But a major amount of less popular streamers still stream PUBG Mobile, there will always be a handful of live sessions from India, going on at all times on Youtube and other streaming sites as well.
A senior official in the Ministry said, “We will have to see how many people are using the app through these means and then take a call,” he said. “We can’t stop APK downloads etc completely, since there are so many websites that host them. If the masses are unable to use it and only a few are using it through virtual private networks, it’s not a major concern, since it’s not defeating the purpose of the ban.”
Impact of the Pubg Mobile ban
PUBG Mobile ban has created a void which Indian games could have a chance to fulfill. It has left game development companies scrambling to come up with a new gaming title.
PUBG’s ecosystem enablers such as tournament organizers and streamers are the worst hit due to the ban. Over 80% of their revenue has shrunk over the past month. It has allowed other game titles like CODM and Valorant to get popular.
It has mainly impacted only the esports side of PUBG. This can be said just because of the fact that casual players can still continue to play the game without consequences, even if it is deemed illegal to do so. On the other hand, pro teams and orgs cannot continue to play, they could face legal action if caught promoting and playing PUBG as an organization.
PUBG garnered just $41.2 million in player revenues from India as compared to $3.5 billion generated globally, according to Sensor Tower, which is just 1.2% of its global revenue. The ban has definitely killed the PUBG Mobile esports scene in its budding stage, the only game which India was ‘one of the best’ at. It has also caused losses for Tencent, break off from PUBG Corp in the Indian region.
NODWIN Gaming MD Akshat Rathee told The Esports Observer “It’s already been a month and a half that it’s been banned and I think it has another month and a half, maybe two, maybe two and a half months. If the ban extends beyond a quarter, maybe four months, that’s where you will start seeing massive change. Eventually, I do believe in the medium-term, not in the long-term, PUBG Mobile will be unbanned.”
“This will create an opportunity for the team to diversify into other games, but also being able to generate revenue through things like streaming, streaming endorsements, overall just creating good content and exploring the business models of the team,” he added.