Make in India!
One of the recent developments, which we are sure you all are aware of is that your favorite mobile gaming app PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds, or as you fondly call it, PUBG has been banned in India. The ban comes amidst India’s attempt to ban all Chinese imports after the Galwan valley face-off, in which it lost its 20 brave soldiers. PUBG’s ban comes along with a ban on 118 other apps with Chinese roots or connections.
How does it help India?
Successfully or unsuccessfully, there have been attempts by states and countries to ban the game in the past too, deeming it to be an addictive and unnecessary distraction. Another reason which has come up is that these apps could be stealing and transmitting user’s data illegally to servers that have locations outside India.
In India’s situation, the ban is also intended to hurt China’s economy as India is the PUBG Mobile’s biggest market (with 200 million downloads according to a recent report and an almost 25 per cent share of the global market). India plans to upskill its people and line up the competing indigenous products to support ‘Make in India’ to drive its economy.
Rightly so! Soon after the government banned PUBG, film star Akshay Kumar announced his Made in India ‘FAU-G’ multiplayer action game being developed by Indian game developing company nCore Games. According to the actor, unlike PUBG, the game will not only be the source of entertainment but also the mode to make the players aware of the sacrifices of Indian soldiers. The game is based on real scenarios encountered by the Indian Security Forces to deal with both domestic and foreign threats. The launch is expected by October end with its first-level set in the Galwan Valley backdrop followed by third-person shooting gameplay in the subsequent releases. The game will be available on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
So is PUBG a Chinese app?
No. PUBG was developed and published by South Korean company PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of video gaming company Bluehole. The South Korean company developed the PC and the console versions of the game.
To enter the gaming market of China, Bluehole held hands with the Chinese gaming company Tencent, which went on to introduce the mobile version of the game, PUBG Mobile.
Although it was an instant hit in the Chinese market, the game failed to get the approval of the Chinese government and hence couldn’t monetise it. Ironically, before the ban, the game was played more in India than in China.
Can PUBG return to India?
As of now, Tencent holds a 10 per cent stake in Bluehole and it was the sole distributor of the PUBG Mobile app in India. Following the ban, Bluehole has taken away these rights from Tencent to secure its largest market for PUBG Mobile. Bluehole is now looking for an Indian partner to tie up for distribution rights in India.
So it remains to be seen if PUBG Mobile manages to make a comeback in India or not. Hopefully, you are not going to miss it much as soon as FAU-G makes an entry!