Seven months after India banned popular multiplayer mobile game PUBG—among the top 10 most downloaded games in India—along with 118 Chinese apps, its South Korean owner Krafton is going to launch the game with a new name, Battlegrounds Mobile India, which is made exclusively for Indian gamers.
Battlegrounds Mobile India mirrors the original PUBG game in many ways, from characters to plots. The company said it will allow users to change character’s outfits including other features in the gameplay. It’s not clear whether users will have to pay for this as that’s the case with PUBG.
“Battlegrounds Mobile India…will have its own esports ecosystem with tournaments and leagues. The game will launch as a free-to-play experience on mobile devices,” Krafton said in a statement.
Without revealing the launch date, Krafton said it will open a pre-registration period before launching it in the country for users who wish to play the game.
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The company said it will collaborate with local gaming partners to “build an esports ecosystem while bringing in-game content regularly, starting with a series of India specific in-game events at launch, to be announced later.”
The South Asian country downloaded the most mobile games in the first nine months of 2020, making it a lucrative market for any mobile game developers. It was this huge opportunity that Krafton was missing out on led the South Korean firm to cut ties with Tencent to relaunch PUBG in India.
And PUBG was one of the popular games in India among gaming platforms that host esports tournaments. EWar Games, one of the esports platforms said it has organized several tournaments for PUBG players on the platform and has had over 5,000 teams playing the PUBG tournaments.
“Now with the popular Battle Royale game making a comeback, we at EWar will be looking forward to do everything in our capacity to promote the game and take the momentum ahead along with the nation’s gamers and esports ecosystem,” Parth Chadha, founder and CEO of esports platform EWar, told KrASIA.
Chinese internet giant Tencent was PUBG’s publisher in India which caught the attention of Indian authorities in September last year, which blocked apps with any connection with China after the two countries’ border clash. Between June and November last year, India has banned over 200 chines apps including TikTok, PUBG, Clash of Kings, AliExpress, WeChat among others.
According to a Sensor Tower report PUBG had 170 million installations in India, contributing 24% of its total downloads.
PUBG is coming back to India with a strong commitment to storing data locally as required by local laws, which is Indian government’s main beef about PUBG and other Chinese apps it banned.
“With privacy and data security being a top priority, Krafton will be working with partners, to ensure data protection and security, at each stage. This will ensure privacy rights are respected, and all data collection and storage will be in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in India and for players here,” Krafton said in a statement.