Report: Reliance in Talks to Publish PUBG MOBILE in India
PUBG MOBILE may be unavailable in India right now but the owners of the popular battle royale game are reportedly in talks to resurrect it in the region.
The Indian Government’s decision to ban PUBG MOBILE in the country has been the major story from the subcontinent over the last few weeks, particularly due to the impact the title had on the region. Not only was India the biggest market for it, but the virality of the title led to the establishment of a solid esports ecosystem that attracted the likes of Fnatic and TSM to set up camp in the country.
With India’s esport industry built largely on the back of PUBG MOBILE’s popularity, the ban has left a massive gap in the community with streamers, professional players, tournament organizers, and fans all wondering what is to come next.
India’s ban on the Tencent-published title comes amidst escalating tensions between India and China and an increased scrutiny towards Chinese tech products and investments in the country. While Indian authorities have cited user security and data privacy concerns in their official statements, there is a case to be made that this is part of a larger move to apply political pressure on China. A week after the ban, PUBG Corp. announced that it would be taking over the publishing rights for the game in India as a way to distance the title from China. However, there has been no news of the game being unbanned since then.
It became increasingly obvious that PUBG Corp. would require an Indian partner to help with the execution and logistics of operating a game in a region with more than 33M active players. Recent reports across various Indian media outlets suggest that PUBG Corp is in talks with Reliance for the same. A Business Today article reported that Reliance was in talks with PUBG Corp. to serve as partners to help bring back the game to the region. The report went as far as to say that the discussions were in an “advanced stage” with the two companies negotiating revenue share and plans for localization.
The news is strengthened by the fact that Reliance chairman, Mukesh Ambani spoke highly about the gaming industry in a conversation with Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella at a summit in Mumbai, earlier this year. He believes that the gaming industry will be bigger than the film, television, and music industries put together. While India was the biggest market for PUBG MOBILE in terms of player base, it wasn’t the market that generated the largest amount of revenue for the title. However, the country has one of the youngest demographics in the world and rapidly improving internet and tech infrastructure, making it one of the fastest-growing gaming markets in the world.