PUBG mobile quickly became very popular in India when it was released in 2018. The game allegedly had over 50 million monthly active users in the country at the end of 2020. With such a large player base, India was a major focal point for the game’s esports scene, drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers.
However, this was all cut off when the Indian government banned it PUBG mobile on September 2, 2020 due to privacy concerns. It dealt a huge blow to the game’s entire player base and was effectively ended PUBG mobile eSports in the country.
The game made a comeback as Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) however in July 2021. While PUBG mobile was published by Tencent, BGMI was acquired by the South Korean company Krafton, the owner of the PUBG IP.
Much has been speculated about a return to esports since its release. Krafton held its first competition, The Launch Party, in July, which invited top creators and teams. Shortly afterwards it was announced that Battlefields India Series (BGIS) with open qualifiers and a prize pool of Rs.10,000,000 (approximately $ 134,000).
With that, many players have asked themselves whether BGMI becomes part of the global PUBG mobile Esports roadmap. Also in China PUBG mobile is called as another game. available Peacekeeping Elite due to the strict regulatory laws in the country. While China has a different eSports roadmap for the game than the rest of the world, the top teams have the option to sign up for the PUBG mobile Global Championship (PMGC) and other international events.
However, when the format of PMGC 2021 was announced last month, it was revealed that despite the release of BGMI, no Indian team will compete in the league stage.
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Dot Esports asked Tencent’s director of PUBG mobile esports, James Yang, who revealed it wasn’t entirely up to the company.
“I don’t think I can answer that question, it should be answered by Krafton,” said Yang. “I personally hope India has returned to our ecosystem.”
India does not yet have an official, full-fledged eSports competition for BGMI. While the BGIS was announced in July, the tournament was postponed for reasons not mentioned. Krafton recently announced that it will host the expected tournament in December and January.
“The BGIS was delayed and I can’t say much without it,” added Yang.
A Krafton spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment on this article.
However, fans are still hoping to see an Indian team at the PMGC. In the finals, which will take place from January 21 to 23, Tencent announced that a team will be invited. Yang refused to comment on the invited slot, telling Dot Esports that this invited team will be announced soon.
It’s no surprise that Tencent is looking to add India back to the global esports roadmap. The last official competition for PUBG mobile was the first season of PMPL South Asia in May 2020. It reached a peak of 285,499 viewers according to information Sports charts. When Indian teams were not allowed to compete due to the game ban in the second season, this number fell to only 42,411 spectators.