- PUBG Mobile India was supposed to launch on November 20 but no signs yet.
- PUBG Corporation will need a clearance from the government for the relaunch of the game.
- PUBG Mobile India will have several changes that will allay fears.
PUBG Mobile India is coming to give a legal way for players to enjoy the battle royale in India but when that will happen is not clear. Rumours were rife that the Indian version of PUBG Mobile will launch as early as November 20, which is today but no signs yet. PUBG Mobile India, however, has gained a strong presence online: it has a dedicated website that keeps saying the game is coming, and the Facebook and YouTube pages the company has got its new game made. So, when is PUBG Mobile India coming? What is happening on the company's part?
The company that owns the game, PUBG Corporation, decided to relaunch PUBG Mobile albeit after making some notable changes to the game and its backend, in an attempt to allay the fears various sections of the society and the government had expressed while banning the previous version. PUBG Mobile was banned in India because it had its roots running to China's Tencent Games -- a decision that came riding over the anti-China sentiment following the clash at the border. After the ban, the game was playable until the servers were shut down by the previous publisher. But PUBG Corporation gave its game a new lease of life.
PUBG Corporation announced that it is relaunching the PUBG Mobile as PUBG Mobile India. The announcement was made in the Diwali week -- something that was a part of the company's marketing strategy to popularise the game ahead of its formal entry. This formal entry, however, is nowhere to be seen after around 10 days since the first announcement. Not like the company had given any formal date for the launch of its new game, but rumours were rife that PUBG Mobile India might get introduced to the app marketplaces by November 20.
According to the company website, PUBG Mobile India is coming soon.
There could be a number of reasons behind this uncertainty. Let me explain some of them that should matter to you on a consumer level because these are the points that led to the ban earlier this year. PUBG Corporation will have to get a clearance from the government to re-introduce the game to India's app ecosystem, which is engaged in a sort of purge against the apps that are developed by Chinese firms. Alongside the PUBG Mobile India, the government banned over 100 other apps that were available in India's Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Not only were these apps removed from these app stores but their access to internet servers, issued by Indian ISPs, was also blocked subsequently. The similar thing happened with PUBG Mobile.
Getting a clearance from the government will rely on several changes that PUBG Corporation has made to the game.
The first one is the data localisation of its users. PUBG Corporation's parent company Krafton inked a deal with Microsoft to store the user data on Azure Cloud servers, some of which are installed in India. This would mean that the data of Indian users will be stored on these servers, which is in line with the government's data localisation policy.
The second one pertains to the tweaking of visual elements in the game. PUBG Corporation is replacing blood with a green liquid that will sputter when an enemy is shot dead. This is essentially a measure that is inclusive of the censorship meant to curb the display of violence, which becomes even more important considering the age group some of the players belong to. A major fraction of these players are underage and should not be exposed to bloodshed or violence in visuals. Another change is that the avatars will now be fully-clothed all the time, unlike previously when players would set to play matches half-naked. The government will consider this change.
The third one allays the concerns that most Indian parents and medical experts have had. The game was infamous for making players addicted to it, impacting their health adversely as players would sit for hours twitching their thumbs and fingers. PUBG Corporation is now introducing a time limit for players, beyond which the game will issue alerts. It is not immediately clear whether there will be a need for authentication to bypass this restriction or whether this will be merely for reminding purposes. For what it is worth, PUBG Corporation is trying to appease parents and it might end up being convincing enough for medical experts too. The reason why this is important is that the government might consult medical experts before taking a decision to allow the game again. And if medical experts are convinced, the government will have no reason to object at least on the health part.
I am not sure when the company will launch PUBG Mobile India but this might take place soon. PUBG Corporation was seen opening pre-registrations for the game on Tap Tap gaming community. It has already released teasers for the upcoming PUBG Mobile India featuring Dynamo and other top players from India. The web properties for the game are fully functional, although without a concrete piece of information, which is awaited.