$22.4 mn has been invested by Krafton, the developer of popular gaming title PUBG Mobile, in Indian esports firm Nodwin Gaming, a subsidiary of local gaming giant Nazara in an attempt to maintain its foothold in India. The Gurgaon-headquartered firm helps host events, provide commentary, produce and license content, etc for numerous companies like Blizzard Entertainment, Valve, Riot Games, ESL.
The govt, in a notice to banned Chinese apps, said the order to block them would continue under section 69A of the IT Act. India banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok in June 2020 and 118 apps, including PUBG mobile game, in Sept 2020, blocking more than 200 apps up till now. The apps were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India” the ministry had said.
PUBG Mobile will terminate all service and access for users in India on Oct 30. Almost, two months after the govt banned the game in India citing cybersecurity concerns. Unlike other banned apps that became unavailable within days or hours, PUBG Mobile apps remained accessible to users who already had them installed. In fact, PUBG Mobile had retained over 90% of its 50 mn MAU in the country, a media report had said.
India banned PUBG mobile across the country which was a big jolt for the South Korean game developer. In its attempt to make a comeback in one of its biggest markets, PUBG is reportedly in early conversation with Airtel for handing over of distribution right. Earlier, it was reported that PUBG was in talks with Reliance Jio. PUBG has been trying hard get back its market space in India. The company even broke off its India publishing tie-up with Tencent.
PUBG Mobile was hit by DDoS attacks leading to several players getting disconnected from the game worldwide. The developer acknowledged the issue and said that its teams were actively working to resolve the attack. PUBG Mobile was one of the most popular battle royale games in India, before the centre banned it on 2nd Sept 2020. The S Korean developer has been trying to get the ban revoked whereas the govt officials say that they are in no hurry to do so.
India may not reverse the PUBG ban even after the PUBG Corp has severed publishing ties with China’s Tencent. S Korean developer Blue Hole, which is the maker of PUBG, is actively looking to rescue its India operations. The MeitY has said it was in no hurry to the revoke the PUBG ban in the country. Sources cite the game anyway is too violent and ownership change won’t change that. PUBG was reportedly in talks with Reliance Jio to bring back the game in India.
Reliance Jio is reportedly in talks with PUBG Corp to win its publishing and distributing ties in India. The two companies have reached a stage where they’re negotiating revenue sharing and localisation. This collaboration can be of mutual benefit. While PUBG will regain its position in one of its largest markets, Reliance will tap into the huge potential of the Indian gaming market.
PUBG Corp, after pulling PUBG Mobile’s publishing rights from Tencent Games in India, is looking to partner with an Indian gaming firm to make a comeback in its biggest market. A new licencing agreement was reportedly in works to pass on the rights to run PUBG Mobile in India. However, it is unclear if an agreement with Indian gaming firm will uplift the ban. Unconfirmed rumours that Reliance Jio is taking PUBG licence in India have also been doing rounds.
Following the ban by the Indian govt, PUBG Corp has ended all publishing ties with Tencent Games in India. PUBG Corp will no longer authorise the PUBG Mobile franchise to Tencent games in India. PUBG Corp is an S Korean firm that made PUBG but not PUBG Mobile. PUBG Mobile was initially made so that PUBG could enter the Chinese market as it was banned there. Only after Tencent bought a 1.5% stake in PUBG Corp parent Bluehole, was the game released in China.