In a world dominated by video games and mobile gaming, PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (commonly called as PUBG) had carved a name for itself.
PUBG, an online multiplayer shooting game, was a smash hit when it dropped in 2018, with its mobile version – PUBG Mobile – being especially popular. PUBG Mobile went on to be the second most-downloaded game of 2018 – 300 million. Since then, the popularity of the game has only skyrocketed with the peak player base of the game crossing 500 million.
Initially, the largest player base for the mobile version was China. By 2019, it was India which was topping that board. With over 175 million downloads, India had about 24% of the total market of PUBG Mobile. Unfortunately, due to the India-China skirmishes in May 2020, the Indian government banned about 118 Chinese apps in September, including PUBG Mobile, leaving millions of players in a gaming vacuum.
Many games of the ilk which tried to ll the hole left by PUBG could not attract a similar player base. Of all these mobile games which have attempted to claim the empty throne, the two most successful games would probably be Call of Duty Mobile and Garena Free Fire.
Call of Duty Mobile
Call of Duty has been one of the most consistently popular video game series of all time for console and PC players since its advent in 2003. In 2019 October, Call of Duty mobile (CoD) was launched to instant success globally. In India, the market was still dominated by PUBG and CoD could only watch from the sidelines. The ban on PUBG Mobile beneted CoD mobile immensely with the largest number of PUBG players shifting their game to Call of Duty. The game has masterfully adapted some of the best modes which made its console and PC counterparts so successful. Along with the traditional battle royale style, the game also has Deathmatches, Search and Destroy, Prop Hunt, and many more modes. They also have good adaptable graphics setting so that high-end phones are not required to play the game.
Garena Free Fire
Garena Free Fire is a sleeper hit. Virtually unknown when it was launched, the game soon earned a large player base which has only grown through the years. It became the most downloaded game of the year 2019 but was still behind PUBG Mobile in the leaderboards. After the ban on the former, the game has seen a huge spike in its player base in India. The game is made mainly for phones with either mid or lower specications for gaming which makes it so alluring.
In the start of September of 2020, about the time of the ban on PUBG Mobile, Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar announced a new video game to the world. The game which was known as Fearless and United-Guards (FAU-G), was the Indian response to PUBG mobile. The Bangalore-based nCore games are developing FAU-G, with the game getting more than 1 million pre-registered players on the day it opened. Although many hardcore PUBG Mobile players have trolled the game, it seems that the game may very well live up to the hype it has created.
PUBG Mobile India
Many feared the ban on PUBG Mobile would remain permanent in India, but in November 2020, a trailer was released by the PUBG Corporation, teasing PUBG Mobile India, which would see the return of PUBG without Tencent, the Chinese company which distributed the game previously. Understandably, this caused much frenzy but since then the game had hit a roadblock with no green signal yet from the Indian government. Therefore, although the return of PUBG Mobile in the form of PUBG Mobile India might eventually happen, for now, its player base is migrating towards other online multiplayer games in the hope that they will find the same enjoyment.