It’s been a week since the the Indian Government banned Battlegrounds Mobile in the country. The game was taken off the Apple Store and Google Playstore, with developer Krafon receiving prior notice. While this isn’t the first time a PUBG game has been banned in India, this time was a tad different.
Previously it was games like PUBG and Free Fire that had been banned in the country, due to those games originating from China. Following this the parent company of PUBG, Krafton introduced BGMI as a replacement, but is still caught in the crossfire. This ban is likely only temporary, as Krafton did receive prior notice and the ban is mostly a compliance threat.
The recent ban on the game is mainly due to the game being rumoured to have data sent to servers in China. Krafton came out with a public statement about this ban, stating their game will be active soon. This points towards their immediate compliance to any demands the gov’t has and intent to keep the game active.
It was only a few years ago that people playing games like PUBG in India were majorly looked down on. This was due to the amount of addition the game had caused in minors and adults. As such the game did bring in certain settings which made the chances of the addiction reducing. While this did help bring the game to better limelight in the eyes of the public. While the game got better with time the main highlight took place in 2020 when the game got banned by the country’s government.
Constant banning of games negatively impacts the esports market in India
We recently discussed the rise of LAN events and growth of esports in India, and we now hit with uncertainty and a looming ban phase. The major bi-product of this situation is that the lined-up BGMI tournaments in the country were forced to be delayed to a future date. With the esports industry just gaining its feet in the Indian market. There wasn’t many immediate LAN events lined up for this particular week, but the ban did affect live streaming as many streamers needed to shift to a new game.
The current ban leaves many game development organizations confused and in a major dilemma. There isn’t a confirmed date for the game to make its comeback, and there is no certainty about the “safety” of other titles. Apart from Krafton, other major losers are tournament 0rganizers and sponsor. The Tier 2 scene of the game has also been put on a major halt.
With the esports industry in India predicted to value at $3.9 billion by 2025, it is high time there are regulations placed.
Currently, there are no guidelines gaming organizations need to be aware of while launching a game in the country. There is also a noticeable pattern by the government in only banning video games while major gambling apps are allowed to advertise and still operate at large with little to no data oversight.
If the Indian government continues with this pattern, the worst-case situation can easily occur. India can see a major dip in investment within the domain. Gaming organizations can decide to region lock their games out of India and in turn utterly destroy grassroots esports.