When the Indian government banned the popular battle royale game PUBG last year (along with a host of other Chinese apps), gamers across the country were left frustrated at the loss of their favorite video game. However, recent developments have suggested that PUBG Mobile would be making its comeback in the Indian gaming industry, and after months of teasers, PUBG’s South Korean developer Krafton finally announced the return of PUBG Mobile, rebranded as “Battlegrounds Mobile India.”
The game, which promises to provide “a world-class AAA multiplayer” and free-to-play gaming experience on mobile devices, uses the color scheme of the Indian flag. It will be available only in India, and Krafton announced that it would be opening pre-registration for Battlegrounds Mobile India “soon” ahead of its launch in the country, but declined from sharing a specific date. This means you can play the game as early as this month or June.
“Krafton will collaborate with partners to build an e-sports ecosystem while bringing in-game content regularly, starting with a series of India-specific in-game events at launch, to be announced later,” the company said. It added that “Battlegrounds Mobile India will release with exclusive in-game events like outfits and features and will have its own e-sports ecosystem with tournaments and leagues. The game will launch as a free-to-play experience on mobile devices.”
Since Battlegrounds Mobile India will be a replica of PUBG, it is expected to offer the same game modes – war, battle royale, team deathmatch – and other features, including the same Erangel, Miramar, Sanhok, and Vikendi maps.
Krafton claimed that the user data collected and stored by Battlegrounds Mobile India would comply with the laws and regulations of the country. This can be chalked up to the ban of PUBG in September 2020 by the government to protect the ‘sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of the state and public order.’ PUBG Mobile faced the ax since its license was owned by Chinese giant Tencent at that time, and tensions were high between India and China. Since then, Krafton has revoked Tencent’s license for PUBG.
“With privacy and data security being a top priority, Krafton will be working with partners to ensure data protection and security, at each stage. This will ensure privacy rights are respected, and all data collection and storage will be in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in India and for players here,” Krafton said in a statement.
In what will appear to be a relief for parents whose children spent an excessive amount of time over the erstwhile most popular game in the country (it had over 50 million monthly active users in the country, and still had over 10 million users in India last month), Krafton announced some restrictions for minors playing Battlegrounds Mobile India. These include restricting the maximum amount of money the user can spend in the game to ₹7,000 per day. Minors will be able to play the game for a maximum of 3 hours a day and will need to provide the phone number of their parent or guardian to play the game.