The highly anticipated ban on PUBG Mobile finally saw the light of reality when the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India banned the very popular Battle Royale mobile game, Player Unknown Battle Ground, popularly abbreviated as PUBG, on Wednesday (2nd September, 2020).
The introduction of PUBG Mobile in the Indian gaming market in March 2018 was nothing but a torrent of public furore, although in a positive way. PUBG Mobile saw an overnight success in the Indian mobile gaming ecosystem. With over 175 million installs, PUBG Mobile by far was one of the most played mobile games in this country.
The South Korean cum Chinese game made a total revenue of 22,547 crores globally with India having its highest number of users. But this fame is long gone now, the Chinese infiltration on Indian soil and Chinese policies on its Internet companies made the Indian Government intervene and take away PUBG Mobile from millions of Indians, for whom it was just a game, an excuse to escape tragedy; for some, an addiction; and for others, the only source of livelihood.
Now that PUBG Mobile is gone, professional gamers or gaming enthusiasts will not waste any time sobbing over it, the like of which we saw when Tiktok was banned. The biggest competitors, PUBG Mobile had, was Fortnite Mobile in the USA and Call of Duty Mobile in India. While PUBG Mobile is still in the USA, Fortnite Mobile must be looking forward to President Trump to ban it like that of India; but for COD Mobile, the Indian market is wide open.
Founded in 2019, Call of Duty Mobile is a game by American Video gaming company Activision in partnership with TiMi Studios, the subsidiary of Tencent Games, the same Tencent, who was among many factors, responsible for the ban of PUBG Mobile in India. Until last week, it was speculated that, not only PUBG Mobile but also COD Mobile will get banned in India as both the non-Chinese companies have had some ties with the Chinese gaming giant, Tencent. But 2 weeks ago Activision parted its way from Tencent Holdings.
There are two important reasons cited by Activision to part with its former Chinese partner Tencent.
- An order signed by the US President Donald Trump citing that the USA would restrict American companies from conducting any kind of a transaction with Tencent Holdings and its subsidiaries.
- Reports suggested that PUBG Mobile copies many of its feature from COD Mobile. Features like gun game mode, aerial platform, locations etc have been heavily copied and applied by PUBG Mobile from COD Mobile. Though their developer has the roots in the same company, but games and their owners are different and hence such duplication is unethical.
Now, it is being predicted that COD Mobile can probably be a perfect replacement for PUBG Mobile. PUBG Mobile was best known for its Battle Royale Capabilities. The mobile gaming community was largely divided into two sections : those who love Battle Royale and therefore are users of PUBG Mobile & those who love TDMs and other short formats of an FPP realtime shooting game and therefore are users of COD Mobile. Although COD Mobile has its own Battle Royale segment, but PUBG Mobile’s Battle Royale has long been believed to be better than that of COD Mobile. Recently, COD Mobile had a major update and it is being said that, COD Mobile has largely improved the Battle Royale segment and has a lot of newer avenues to explore in the short Multiplayer formats.
COD Mobile has introduced the concept of Gunsmith in the latest update, which allows a lot of renovations and developments in all the weapons, present in the game, and thus gives the players a versatile variety of choices to explore. With its immersive graphics (arguably better than PUBG Mobile), COD Mobile can rise up to be the next sensation among professional streamers. With a larger variety of Maps in the arcade modes, COD Mobile has a large advantage over PUBG Mobile in this regard. In-game audio communication has long been an attraction in PUBG Mobile and fortunately, COD Mobile has that too.
With over 100 million downloads, COD mobile can definitely start dominating the mobile gaming community in India. Professional live streamers, who happen to be emulator players, may move on to play various PC Gaming Giants like Call of Duty : Warzone, PUBG (PC Version), Fortnite (PC Version), Apex Legends, to name a few among many. What is to be seen is how the Indian Gaming Community adapts to this sudden change.