PUBG BAN: An Opportunity for Indian E-Sports Space or a Blow in the Head?

With the escalating tensions across the Chinese border, the Indian government recently banned 118 apps and games of Chinese origin. A total of 35 games were banned in this drive, including arguably the most-liked game in the country – PUBG Mobile. The PUBG ban broke the heart of numerous gaming enthusiasts, including amateur and professional gamers.

PUBG Mobile updated their privacy policy a few days before the ban, but still, it wasn’t enough to save the game from the wrath of the Indian government. The biggest reason behind it was the revenue of $7 Mn- $8 Mn the game generated in India for its parent company in China from May 2019.

This ban could come as a massive setback to the growing e-sports space in the nation as PUBG Mobile was one of the most significant contributors to the rapid rise of e-sports in India. The game’s craze took India by storm as it alone took the country to the global e-sports forefront. The world noticed the Indian e-sports market’s potential, and slowly other players also entered the game.




The extent of PUBG’s Mobile’s popularity could be mapped with a single fact that the game itself became synonymous with the nation’s mobile gaming category. After getting launched in March 2018, the game had 175 Million+ downloads by July 2020. The game had 50 Mn+ active users in India by May 2020, and it also captured a massive 18% of the total e-sports market share. Fascinating much?

Before PUBG Mobile was launched, the Indian e-sports market could be defined as a set of affluent users. However, the introduction of PUBG Mobile changed the whole game and redefined the gaming niche in India. 

PUBG Mobile and the Indian E-Sports Space

Although Nodwin Gaming used to hold Electronic Sports League in India since 2016, PUBG Mobile capitalized on its popularity to raise the bar. They organized PUBG Mobile Campus Championship 2018, where they got an astounding response with over 2 Lakh registrations. Since then, the frequency of these tournaments, the prize money, and the number of registrations have only increased.

From 2018 to 2019, in PUBG Mobile tournaments, there was an unprecedented growth of 180% in the e-sports money prize pool. Out of India’s whole e-sports money prize pool, PUBG Mobile contributed a whopping 40% as per an E-Sports Observer.


Screenshot 2021 02 16 at 03.29.26 PUBG BAN


How would the ban impact the prospects of E-Sports Space in India?

There is no doubt that the ban came as a massive roadblock for a market that was rapidly making strides in the nation. It is like the best player of the team getting out at the wrong juncture in a match. It would disturb the users of PUBG Mobile as they would now search for an alternative.

It might take some time for them to find the right option, but it could also be a blessing in disguise for the other companies if they could provide suitable alternatives to substitute the game. The industry leaders are optimistic that the ban on the game would not derail the entire market as there any many other popular e-sports creating headlines.

Nowadays gaming is become so popular in India, yes due to pubg, but that is still banned in India and no one knows when it will come. When it comes or unban then mobile gaming takes the next level in India. Due to that opportunity other games like rummy tournaments, online games and other multiplayer games are growing day by day. All categories have market leader games.

An Opportunity for Indian E-Sports Space

The ban provides an opportunity for Indian E-Sports Space as they could capture some ground with better alternatives. There already is an Indian-made game in the market inspired by PUPG Mobile named FAU-G. There has been a huge void left with the absence of PUBG Mobile.

It is also true that PUBG Mobile introduced numerous users to the E-Sports Ecosystem. However, it is also an opportunity for the Indian Gaming Market to come up with something substantial and grab it with both hands because a single game cannot shape the entire industry’s fate, but the whole gaming community will.


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