PUBG Mobile has really been through the switch in India: its popularity in the country led to concerns that children spent too much time playing the game, and several Indian cities banned the game in 2019 after blaming it for promoting violent behavior. In 2020, PUBG Mobile was banned across the country after increased tensions between China and India. When the game was released by the Chinese company Tencent, PUBG Mobile was included in the list of 118 apps banned in India due to security issues.
But it seems that PUBG Corp was not quite ready to give up, and a new version of the game is already seeing massive success.
Battlegrounds Mobile India is the new (but still not very catchy) name of PUBG Mobile in India, and it has a roaring start. The game was launched on July 2, and now has 34 million registered players, 16 million active users every day, and a top number of players of 2.4 million. And apparently it’s not even in the Apple App Store yet (via Times of India).
To put this in context, the highest number of Steam streams for the PC version of PUBG in the last 30 days was 413,000 (via Steam Charts). However, it is worth noting that PUBG once hit 3.2 million concurrent players on Steam back in 2018, so Battlegrounds Mobile India still has a long way to go before they top it. In terms of PUBG Mobile more generally, in 2019 the game reached 400 million downloads worldwide, and at that time had 50 million daily active users outside China (via GamesIndustry.biz).
The reason why this version of PUBG Mobile has not met a ban is that PUBG Corp ended its partnership with Tencent to get the new version published. PUBG Corp created a new company called PUBG India Private Limited to launch Battlegrounds Mobile India, and so far this plan seems to be going well (via Times of India).
In a talk with TechCrunch, IGN India editor Rishi Alwani said that the featured version of PUBG Mobile is actually PUBG Mobile with data compliance, green blood, and a constant reminder that you are in a “virtual world” with such a messaging service when you starts a game and when you are in menus “. So it seems that some adjustments have been made in response to previous allegations that PUBG Mobile encouraged real-world violence.
PUBG Corp. seems to have many more PUBG universe releases on the horizon: there is, for example, Deadspace’s spiritual successor The Callisto Protocol, along with the upcoming PUBG Mobile sequel New State (which already looks like it will be quite popular). Oh, and the original PUBG game just received a new map and a new Gulag-style system of chance. Everything happens.