Curtains down on PUBG Mobile in India with server shut down2 min read . Updated: 30 Oct 2020, 11:02 AM IST
- PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite's Indian servers were operated by China-based Tencent Games
- The closure of servers will deprive existing users of PUBG from playing the game on their phones. The government had banned the game as part of its 70-app ban in September
Two months after India banned PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite games over security concerns, developer PUBG Corp. has announced, in a Facebook post, that it is shutting down the India servers for the games on October 30.
The servers were being run by Chinese company Tencent Games.
Though the games were taken down from the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store on September 2 to prevent new downloads soon after the ban, shutting down of servers means the games will no longer be available to the existing users who had downloaded it before the ban.
"To comply with the interim order of the ministry of electronics and information technology dated 2 September 2020, Tencent Games will terminate all service and access for users in India to PUBG Mobile Nordic Map: Livik and PUBG Mobile Lite on 30 October 2020. The rights to publish PUBG Mobile in India will be returned to the owner of the PUBG intellectual property," PUBG Mobile's Facebook post states.
Following the ban, PUBG Corp. had severed ties with Tencent Games and stripped them of their publishing rights for the franchise in India. However, Tencent continues to handle their distribution outside India.
Accounting for 180 million out of the 752 million global downloads, India was one of the largest markets for PUBG Mobile. The game had generated close to $28 million since July 2019 through in-app purchases alone, as per Sensor Tower.
PUBG Mobile was also a big source of revenue for eSports companies and professional mobile gamers. According to industry sources, the average viewership for larger scale PUBG Mobile tournaments was easily over 2 million.
Many professional gamers and eSports tournaments have started switching to other multiplayer online games such as Garena Free Fire since the ban. A homegrown game, FAU-G, is also under development by Indian gaming startup nCore Games.
After severing ties with Tencent in India, PUBG Corp. also made attempts to hand over the distribution rights to an Indian company, a person aware of the matter told Mint.
While many believe that getting an Indian company on board will resolve all issues for PUBG Mobile, experts say that ownership is just one part of the issue. The government had raised several privacy and securityrelated concerns with the game and had sent 70 queries on the matter to its publishers.