In India, PUBG Mobile had every teenager and the ones who called themselves “gamer” hooked to it. It all started with PUBG getting released for mobile devices back in February 2018 and slowly becoming the most played game on the subcontinent. However, the hype eventually ended with PUBG mobile getting banned after almost a year and a half in September 2020.
Now that PUBG mobile or the rebranded “Battlegrounds Mobile India” return is evident, most are euphoric, eagerly waiting for their dear game; but is it all the Indian gaming scene is all about? Not to bash any sentiments or call the mobile gaming industry inferior. I believe mobile gaming is the future, but it should not have PUBG mobile at its heart.
There’s no denying that PUBG mobile introduced a new game genre to Indian game enthusiasts. The concept of 100 players landing on an island and fighting with other players to be the last one standing was new at that time. A concept first introduced by the Z1 Battle Royale game but eventually popularized by PUBG, and PUBG mobile was the first game to garner record-breaking popularity off of it.
Nonetheless, as all good things must come to an end, PUBG mobile must too.
Where did the hype start?
To understand why Indians are obsessed with PUBG mobile and its return, let’s go back to the time when PUBG mobile was launched.
The year is 2018; budget phones are everywhere, with Xiaomi releasing new phones with hardware that can run power games like PUBG mobile and are pocket friendly. At the same time, Jio was pulling in customers with its dirt-cheap 4G data plans; all this developed an ecosystem in which PUBG mobile flourished, unlike any other game.
Now came the time when YouTube became filled with PUBG mobile’s videos, and people even started streaming it. It was a time when you’re either playing PUBG mobile, or you’re watching others playing it.
It was good; the mobile gaming scene in India grew immensely, with PUBG mobile becoming a household name. However, there was one big problem: While PUBG Mobile allowed mobile players to experience the thrill of battle royale, it overshadowed all other good mobile games.
After-effects of the PUBG Mobile ban
While PUBG mobile ban presented an opportunity to explore what other games mobile gaming has to offer, most of the “gamers” shifted to COD Mobile and an awful iteration of PUBG mobile, Garena Free Fire.
Meanwhile, many players expected PUBG mobile’s return; some continued to play and stream PUBG mobile, but not the Indian version, the Korean version. However, some of the players moved to other games and even appealed to their followers to explore other games and not to cling to PUBG mobile.
All the while, many Indian gaming websites continued to write on how to download the Korean version of PUBG mobile, further encouraging these “gamers” to continue playing the one game they know.
There are many mobile games out there that deserve the chance to be popular and have the potential to develop Indian mobile gaming further. Contrary to popular belief (among PUBG enthusiasts, of course), one game can’t be the backbone of an entire industry.