After banning around 50 Chinese-owned apps in June, including TikTok, the Indian government has announced another massive wave of bans, including one of the world’s fastest growing esports titles and most popular mobile games, PUBG Mobile.
A total of 118 mobile apps have been banned in this latest crackdown, with cyber security again being given as the motive. While everything from messaging apps to media players to web browsers have now been blocked, PUBG Mobile fans will be shocked to learn that their game is on the list too, along with another of the world’s biggest mobile esports games, Arena of Valor. Both of these titles, which are owned and/or developed by Chinese tech giant Tencent, have booming esports communities in Asia and boast massive tournament viewership, with India being a considerably large portion of that market.
Particularly in PUBG Mobile’s case, it also has several teams competing in the 2020 World League that are based in India or have all-Indian rosters. A number of global powerhouses in esports, such as Fnatic and Team SoloMid, have also used PUBG Mobile as a way to establish themselves in Asia and both have all-Indian rosters representing them in competitions.
This move also comes in the build up to PUBG Mobile’s recently announced Global Championship, which will see a total prize pot of $2 million dished out to teams from both the East and West Divisions and is slated to start in November.
Proud to announce the @PUBGMOBILE Global Championship season ZERO! Where all the Top Professional invited teams across all regions will participate, including China to crown the Global Champion this year 2020! The event will host a prize pool of 2 million USD! #PMGC2020 #BeTheOne pic.twitter.com/2qj6kQCOYp
— PUBG MOBILE Esports (@EsportsPUBGM) August 24, 2020
PUBG Mobile has plenty of other booming markets in Asia, such as in Thailand and Indonesia. However, losing not only the casual players but potentially the esports teams and viewers as well from the world’s second most populated country is a huge blow.