South Korean gaming giant PUBG Corporation said on Tuesday that it has decided to no longer authorize its PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ mobile franchise to Tencent Games in India, a week after India banned apps of the multiplayer battle game citing national security threat.
For PUBG, India is its largest market with more than 175 million downloads, accounting for almost a quarter of total global downloads, according to Sensor Tower. The ban on PUBG app is also hurting India’s small, but fledgling game streaming and the professional gaming community.
“Moving forward, PUBG Corporation will take on all publishing responsibilities within the country. As the company explores ways to provide its own PUBG experience for India in the near future, it is committed to doing so by sustaining a localized and healthy gameplay environment for its fans,” the company said in a statement.
India banned 118 Chinese apps last week, including PUBG, on concerns over “stealing” of user data and for engaging in activities prejudicial to the country’s “sovereignty and integrity.” In June, India banned 59 apps, including the Chinese short-videos platform TikTok.
India’s top game streamers and professional players are incensed about the government decision as PUBG commands almost half of the game streaming market in India, followed by mobile video games Free Fire and Call of Duty.
Rakesh Mhatre, a 21-year-old who lives in Thane, Maharashtra would spend between 3-5 hours on PUBG every day. After the ban came through, Mhatre, whose live stream YouTube channel is called Nobita Gaming, said he and his fellow gamers have been a bit lost, he said, as they didn’t know what to do anymore.
“The regular gamers are so desperate, one way or another they will find a way to continue playing the game,” he said. “We do play other games like Call of Duty and a few others, but they aren’t as engaging as PUBG.”