September 2nd was a black day for Indian Gamers and fanatics of the so-called game “PUBG” (1). The game was launched on December 20th, 2017, by Brendan Greene and Jang tae-seok after they developed a love and interest in the 2000 Japanese adventure hit “Battle Royale” (2). The game was initially launched on PC devices and then further expanded into Xbox (3) and the Playstation 4 (4) but, the real hit for PUBG was the mobile gaming community that blew the e-sports market into a frenzy. A roar of optimistic players ready to enhance their skills off previous multiplayer games started to create a growing sensation and fandom for the game. The game immediately took off to greater heights after its launch into the Indian market.
What’s PUBG all about?…
If you’re living under a rock and still don’t have a clue about the game, here is a snippet of information about the hit game: PUBG is a player-to-player shooter game in which in a battle royale, a form of large-scale last man standing deathmatch where players fight to be the last alive, up to one hundred players fight. Players may choose to play a solo match, a duo, or a small team of up to four people. The game is won by the last player or team alive. (5). The playing area of the map starts to shrink down to a random position every few minutes, with any player found outside the safe area steadily taking damage and finally being removed if the safe zone is not reached in time; in play, players see the boundary as a shimmering blue wall that contracts over time. This leads to a more confined map, increasing the chances of encounters in turn. Random areas on the map are highlighted in red during the match and bombed, posing a danger to players who remain in that area. (6) A few minutes before these incidents, players are alerted in both situations, allowing them time to evacuate to safety. Occasionally, a plane can fly over different areas of the playing map at random, or wherever a player uses a flare gun, and drop a loot bag containing items that are typically difficult to acquire during regular gameplay. These packages emit noticeable red smoke, attract interested players close to them, and generate more confrontations. (7).
Growth and advancement in India
In terms of playing online games, India is steadily catching up with the rest of the world. The enthusiasm for gaming is rising like never before with the advent of technology and the availability of a secure internet network. One game that turned around the gaming landscape in India came in 2017, along with these variables. With PUBG, the gaming community saw a way of socializing with other players across geographies from cities. However, they got the chance to play against each other this time. Not only India, but the entire gaming industry has also entered the era of battle royale, having multiple players fight in a battle for survival on a single map against each other. This genre’s popularity exploded mostly after “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” and “Fortnite: Battle Royale(8),” taking the idea of battle royale to millions of players. (9).
Ban in India and Post-development
The IT Ministry of India ordered 118 apps to be banned, which it said were “prejudicial to India’s sovereignty and integrity, India’s defense, state security, and public order.” The move would help “safeguard the interests of Indian mobile and internet users’ crores (tens of millions).” This decision is a targeted move to ensure that Indian cyberspace is clean, stable, and sovereign,” the ministry said. (10) The game posed a threat to the Indian data system due to political assaults on either side. To eliminate this controversy, the department has initiated a ban on PUBG. The ban hurt a lot of sentiments and deprived careers for many players. Many reached out with cries of protests against the prohibition citing “the death of e-sports.” The Indian government was yet to respond to the impact on Indian e-sports, a profession that gave a bit to the economic boost.
Now, PUBG developers plan to launch PUBG Mobile India, a mobile version of the famous game, to cater to the Indian market after being banned for over two months in India. PUBG Company, the game maker, a subsidiary of Krafton of South Korea, also plans to make $100 million worth of investment in India to grow the local video game, e-sports, and entertainment industries. “With the privacy and security of Indian player data being a top priority for the PUBG Corporation, we will conduct periodic storage system audits and verifications to retain the personally identifiable information of Indian users to strengthen security and ensure that their data is managed safely,” the company said in a statement. The release date hasn’t been announced, but the official built PUBG India website (11) has been showing a tab for the apk version of the game; in fact, takes you to the Facebook page(12). The recent happenings on the game show a new teaser for the imminent arrival. (13).
MEITY influence and prolonging the release
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs issued authorization for the registration of PUBG India. PUBG India is classified on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website; it has a U72900KA2020FTC141285 Corporate Identity Number that shows that PUBG Mobile India is one step away from making a big comeback. It was understood that the game would be released soon with a lot of teasers and social media rumors. Yet, that has not happened, and the main reason is that no official notification from the central government has been issued. More precisely, no clearance from MEITY was given. (14)
But PUBG has to pass through different processes and technicalities before its green-lit launch in India by MEITY (15)
- To operate in India, PUBG Mobile India needs all essential government compliance. They need a GST number. Each holder of a company receives a tax identification number (GSTIN) or a GST number for products and services. Any registered individual issues a unique identification number. Without registering under GST guidelines, no entity or corporation can carry on business.
- Microsoft AZURE (16) was officially rendered by PUBG as its partner to host the data and the game. Microsoft Azure, which handles the computing and storage of Microsoft data center tools. This is what mainly keeps information secure, such as servers and user data.
Once all these are processed and gone smoothly, the MEITY can quickly provide a no-objection certificate to the release and stimulate India’s growth. It’s time and risks that PUBG would now have to face for a better day.