Walking On Eggshells, PUBG Mobile's Parent Company Is Taking Scrupulous Steps To Return To India
India with 175 million downloads was the biggest market for PUBG mobile before it was banned
PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUND, popularly known as PUBG, seems to have played its cards strategically till now for its mobile version, i.e., PUBG Mobile’s return to India—it’s biggest market. The game which became an instant hit among the younger generation recorded 175 million downloads in India till date.
Packed with high action, realistic graphic and multiplayer options pushed the game to break all-time records in the gaming industry and comfortably sat on the top in both Google’s PlayStore and Apple’s App store. However, the game was banned by the government of India citing security reasons in September along with other Chinese apps.
Since then, the parent company has been walking on eggshells and plotting the return to India warily, without riling up the government of India. Let us look at how the game has been laying the groundwork for its return.
Severe Ties With Chinese Company
PUBG Corporation falls under KAFTON INC which is the parent company of the popular game, and it is not Chinese but is a South Korean company. In 2017, the game wanted to taste success in China, and hence tied up with the Chinese gaming studio Tencent Games. Tencent went ahead and developed a mobile version of the game in partnership with Bluehole (KRAFTON’s gaming studio) mimicking the original PC version of the game and launched it in China in 2018 and later worldwide including India. However, the game remained banned in China because it depicted blood and gore, but later the government gave a go ahead after the developers came up with an alternative game under the name of ‘Game for Peace’ which fit all the government’s criteria in 2019.
Tencent held the publishing rights of the game in India along with other countries. When the government banned the game in September, PUBG Corporation promptly understood the mood of the nation following the ongoing tension over LAC and the outbreak of the deadly virus which allegedly was born in China. It severed its ties with Tencent for India. Soon after the ban, PUBG Corporation in a statement said it is taking over all the publishing responsibilities from Chinese Tencent Games for India.
In a blog post, the company said it understands and respects the measures taken by the government as the privacy and security of player data is a top priority for the company. It said that the company is working closely with the government to reverse the ban and abide with the Indian laws and regulations.
Two weeks back, PUBG’s parent company KRAFTON on Linkedin, listed a job opening in India for an associate-level manager. The job role listed is titled as Corporate Development Division Manager. This hiring post in India has excited people to think that the popular game might be returning to the Indian market soon. Apart from several other responsibilities such as developing merger and acquisitions and investment strategy for the gaming and related sectors in Indian market, the job role requires the candidate to support the setup process PUBG India with guidance from its headquarters. The job role will allow the employee to work from home from India or the city where PUBG India will be set up.
Since it is a managerial post, it won’t be wrong to assume that after hiring the appropriate candidate, the company will start hiring more talent for various other roles in the country.
Collaborating With Microsoft’s Azure
Tencent pulling the plug of Pubg Mobile’s Indian servers seemed to have been a death knell to every PUBG enthusiast. However, days later, the parent company announced its collaboration with Microsoft’s cloud computing service Azure, further keeping all the gamers on their toes.
The company said the cooperation with Azure will strengthen privacy and security of its game—a major reason behind its outlawing in India.
Azure is Microsoft's public cloud computing service that helps game makers develop, run and grow games on a global scale.
KRAFTON and its subsidiaries will apply Microsoft's cloud platform Azure service to games they service directly. This includes PUBG PC and console, and PUBG MOBILE.
KRAFTON in a press statement said the decision behind collaborating with Azure is to comply with the most complex regulations with state-of-the-art security, to make privacy and information security a priority.
To further reinforce data security, Krafton had said that it will be working with Microsoft to introduce a verification process to ensure that storage of personally identifiable information of its players follows all appropriate requirements in the territories where KRAFTON and its subsidiaries operate gaming services.
Apart from these, PUBG has earlier held talks with Indian payments firm Paytm and Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel to republish the game in the country. According to a media report, the game is mulling to run a marketing campaign in the country during the Diwali festive week and are in talks with popular streamers in the country.
Only time will now tell, if this popular game returns to the second-largest Internet market in the country and what impact it will cost to other game developers who were trying to fill the gap in absence of PUBG.