After fallout with the Indian government two months ago, PUBG Corporation is planning a return to the Indian market with a new avatar and $100 million investment. The South Korean company said on Thursday it’s launching a new game for the world’s second largest market, called PUBG Mobile India.
India is one of the largest markets of PUBG, and its parent company, KRAFTON said they plan to invest $100 million there to cultivate the local video game, esports, entertainment and IT industries ecosystems. The investment is expected to create more than 100 jobs in the country.
“Thanks to overwhelming community enthusiasm for PUBG esports in India, the company also plans to make investments by hosting India-exclusive esports events, which will feature the biggest tournaments, the largest prize pools, and the best tournament productions,” the company said in a statement.
PUBG was among many games cut down by the Indian government in its clampdown on apps of Chinese origin. The border conflict between India and China that started in the middle of the year prompted New Delhi to ban nearly 200 apps from China, including TikTok. Although PUBG is South Korean, the game’s company relationship with Chinese Tencent placed it in the list.
To stay in the Indian market, PUBG has broken up with Tencent, allaying the country’s national security fears.
“Moving forward, PUBG Corporation will take on all publishing responsibilities within the country. As the company explores ways to provide its own PUBG experience for India in the near future, it is committed to doing so by sustaining a localized and healthy gameplay environment for its fans,” v the company said in statement then.
Tencent had been PUBG’s publisher in many markets, including India, until the ban on Chinese apps. PUBG had signed a deal with Microsoft last week to host all of its mobile data to Azure cloud.
The game company said the move has become necessary to protect privacy and data security in India, which it thus sees as “top priority.”
“Privacy and security of Indian player data being a top priority for PUBG Corporation, the company will conduct regular audits and verifications on the storage systems holding Indian users’ personally identifiable information to reinforce security and ensure that their data is safely managed,” the company said.
PUBG was leading in the Indian game market with over 50 million monthly users before the ban in early September. Its impact was notable in the esports ecosystem. According to Indian game analyst Rishi Alwani, PUBG helped establish an entire ecosystem of esports organizations and even a cottage industry of streamers that made the most of its spectator sport-friendly gameplay.
The Indian government has not responded to the changes made by PUBG Corporations, and it is not clear how it will react. However, other non-Chinese apps banned due to their ties with China could follow the steps of PUBG if New Delhi eventually lifts the game company’s ban.
In this era of game, when more companies are jumping into the industry, looking for markets, PUBG is fighting to hold on to its lead in the second largest market in the world.