Not quite like PUBG: e-Sports community sizes up Battlegrounds Mobile India
The gaming, e-Sports, and streaming communities are thrilled to see Krafton return to the Indian gaming market with their new offering Battlegrounds Mobile India after PUBG Mobile was banned last year in November. Battlegrounds Mobile India will be an AAA multiplayer shooter with its own tournaments and leagues as well as in-game events such as outfits and other features.
Battlegrounds Mobile India is essentially the same as PUBG Mobile, which was created for Indian gamers keeping in mind Government of India’s concerns around data privacy and security. According to media reports, the data of Battlegrounds Mobile India users will be stored in both India and Singapore.
Potential competitors have not been quiet during the absence of PUBG Mobile India. Bengaluru-based nCore Games launched FAU-G action game that tried to gain market share. However, existing competitors like Call of Duty Mobile and Garena: FreeFire benefitted the most from the absence.
According to Rohit Sharma, CEO of POKKT and COO of AnyMind Group, “The competitors haven’t made a significant impact yet, as there were major differences in these games, which Indian players didn’t accept and are still looking forward to the relaunch of PUB-G.”
E-Sports streamer Desi Gamers remarked, “We don’t think competitors like FAU-G made any significant impact in gaming industry during the absence of Krafton’s PUBG. FAU-G has currently only one game mode to offer, that is, ‘The Campaign Mode’ and other modes like Team Death Match, Battle Royal Game are coming soon, so they can’t attract the audience. Other competitors like FreeFire have made a great impact all over the world. During the absence of PUBG mobile, this game grew rapidly. Due to this popularity, the game received the award for the Best Popular BOTE Game by the Google Play Store in 2019.”
Pranav Panpalia, Founder, OpraahFx and OP Gaming, observed, “While FAU-G may have not been a hit, other games like FreeFire and Call of Duty have gained a great advantage during PUBG’s absence for a year and have grown exponentially.”
Even though downloads for PUBG Mobile were banned in India and some other countries, the game continued to be played by Indian gamers and still have a massive user base globally. The Indian users of PUBG will have to decide to switch Battlegrounds Mobile India. While there are obvious advantages to making this switch, there are also drawbacks.
DesiGamerz noted, “Unlike the global PUBG mobile version, the Battleground Mobile India will be available only in India. So, e-Sports players will really miss playing against International players.”
“Playing against International players gives a different type of experience altogether and this is a very important way to improve yourself and your team. We’ll miss playing with our international gamer friends,” remarked TechnoGamerz.
Panpalia added here, “Playing with International players has been one of the USPs of PUBG and it was interesting to see how people from different parts of the world came together for a game. The Indian gaming community may miss that.”
Sharma said, “It has not been declared by Krafton about whether the Indian eSports gamers will be able to play internationally. Considering India is a huge market for e-Sports, there is a less chance from Indian e-Sports gamers to play against International gamers.”
However, the e-Sports community expects that Krafton will bring in an international gaming element into the game eventually.
Panpalia commented, “I feel 3 hours per day for minors and a spending limit of Rs 7,000 per day is sufficient. Having seen many PUBG addiction stories, I feel at least this way they can counter the hazards of being addicted to the game and create a more mindful gaming community for the minors.”
POKKT’s Sharma concurred, “This new feature won’t really hamper the launch of the game, as the percentage of players below 18 is much lower than the actual target audience. Also, 3 hours per day is more than enough for a minor to play these games. Protecting minors is a great feature that will help the child have a stable mental health.”
However, some e-Sports streamers like TechnoGamerzdo feel that the requirement for minors to register for the game with a phone number that belongs to their parents or guardian will impact the ability of the game to take off.
While gamers may flock to Battlegrounds Mobile India, it may not have the exclusivity and hard-core fandom that its predecessor PUBG Mobile enjoyed in India. The arbitrary ban by the Indian Government has made the gaming community cautious.
YouTube streamer and e-Sports gamer Total Gaming, noted, “Gamers would have a strategy to play different games time-to-time. Many players who were only playing PUBG burnt their hands when it got banned last year. Therefore, they will be more careful now and will also play other games like FreeFire or Call of Duty alongside PUBG.”
Despite all the challenges, industry observers expect Krafton’s Battlegrounds Mobile India to be very successful.
Tarun Gupta, Founder of online sports platform, Ultimate Battle, said, “Battlegrounds India, a PUBG Mobile variant’s India launch has been highly anticipated in recent months. Krafton has been very active in the Indian market recently, which was an indication that the PUBG Mobile variant may soon see the daylight in India. We forecast to see downloads cross the 1 million+ mark in the first week of the launch.”
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