November 12, 2020 UPDATED: November 12, 2020 15:08 IST
In what could be the biggest reason for Indian gamers to rejoice, PUBG Mobile India has been officially launched in India by PUBG Corporation. The new version is called PUBG Mobile India, where the word “India” denotes the many things that went wrong with the earlier version and led to the ban, have been fixed. According to PUBG Corporation, the new version is specifically designed for Indian users, which include local customisations such as characters starting the game fully clothed. The official release date of PUBG Mobile India will be announced soon.
South Korea’s PUBG Corporation has said it will offer secure and healthy gameplay for the PUBG Mobile India, which are likely to be in line with the government’s mandate. PUBG Corporation’s parent company Krafton recently tied up with Microsoft to store user data on Azure Cloud, which is also available in India locally. The government has mandated the data of Indian users stays within the borders under the data localisation policy. So, that is one item ticked off from the list.
Apart from the government’s concerns, the rhetoric of PUBG Mobile being a bad influence on teenagers of India had a lot to do with the ban simultaneously. The general perception of PUBG Mobile as a violent game that goes against certain “cultural practices” is something that PUBG Corporation is addressing head-on. In the India-specific PUBG Mobile India, the characters will be fully clothed, unlike the regular version where avatars are half-naked and have to be dressed with the help of attires won or bought in the game. The game will also be set in a virtual simulation training ground that is familiar to Indian users.
One of the biggest reasons behind the dismissal of PUBG Mobile was health reasons. PUBG Corporation is also addressing that aspect with the new feature inside PUBG Mobile India that will put restrictions on game time “to promote healthy gameplay habits for younger players.” But effective this feature is going to be is something that remains to be seen and observed over time.
PUBG Corporation has also announced that it will create an Indian subsidiary to “enhance communications and services with players.” The Indian subsidiary will employ 100 people specialising in areas of business, esports, and game development, through which the PUBG Corporation plans to allay fears of the government and users associated with the foreign manpower. This move is also beneficial for PUBG Corporation as it will increase jobs in the country, especially when the app ecosystem of India is undergoing a major change as a result of the backlash against Chinese apps.
Beyond the employment, PUBG Corporation will make investments worth $100 million in India’s various ecosystems to “cultivate the local video game, esports, entertainment, and IT industries.” According to the company, this could be the largest investment by a Korean company in India other than those in the manufacturing industry. A significant portion of this investment will be dedicated to esports events and tournaments that the new Indian subsidiary will hold time to time to give a boost to India’s gamer community. These events, the company says, will be “India-exclusive” and bring large prize pools and tournament productions.