‘PUBG Mobile’ banned in India: Gamers and industry professionals react

Ministry of Information and Technology’s took a major move to ban PUBG and 118 other mobile applications under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, on grounds that they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state and public order. The shook the gaming industry be it gamers, fans or be it industry professionals.

It was very recent that the government banned 59 applications citing data security concerns as tensions in eastern Ladakh rose.

On the PUBG app ban, the players from the Indian gaming industry mostly believing it is the perfect move by the government to secure data and signaling Indian entrepreneurs to invent Made in India alternatives for the banned apps. Here is what some of the gaming industry leaders have to say:

All India Gaming Federation CEO Roland Landers

All India Gaming Federation CEO Roland Landers, says, “Any decision taken by the Govt in order to protect the safety, security and sovereignty of the Indian cyberspace is welcome. The move would safeguard the interests of Indian mobile and internet users while presenting a great opportunity for indigenous homegrown game development studios to showcase their talent and create exciting game formats as part of the #Vocalforlocal and #Aatmanirbhar initiatives. We are confident that games like Rogue Heist, a multi-player online shooter game, designed and developed entirely in India and many others similar to this will fill the gap.”

ESFI director and Asian Esports Federation VP Lokesh Suji

ESFI director and Asian Esports Federation VP Lokesh Suji  shares, “There is no need to panic, the Indian gaming industry has enough wherewithal and can’t be termed dependent on one game. This is a great opportunity for India Video Game developers to build innovative online multiplayer games. Games like HitWicket, WCC or mythology-based games like Raji which are all home grown products and now have the great opportunity to encash their presence. While the stress is to become “Atmanirbhar” I believe this is a great opportunity for the government and the Ministry of Sports to also recognise Esports as a medal-winning and professional sporting opportunity.  The gaming community which is more fragmented can benefit in much more constructive ways if government recognition to the sport is given”

Pocket Aces founder Anirudh Pandita

Pocket Aces founder Anirudh Pandita shares,“The Indian gaming industry has been seeing rapid growth with users from across the country taking to esports and mobile gaming in a big way. We are seeing talented gamers showcase their skills through games such as PUBG, Call of Duty, Freefire and more. We’re confident that the recent ban on PUBG made by Government after much deliberation and with good reason. That means streamers and gamers now have to develop their skills on other games. We are confident that our gaming community will rise to the challenge and that our great nation will produce even better and bigger talent. Loco is more determined than ever to serve the Indian gaming community. We stand by our streamers and are working hand in hand with them at this moment to chart out a new course for Indian gaming. Our platform empowers users to stream games and showcase their talent to India. 100% Made in India, Loco will amplify its efforts towards making India a gaming superpower!”

Rooter CEO and founder Piyush

Rooter CEO and founder Piyush , “We once again welcome this move by our government to safeguard Indian users’ data and protect the country against the potential threat these apps pose to our national security. This ban opens up tremendous opportunities for the Indian gaming ecosystem to align their businesses with the Government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat strategy and also enable gaming and esports platforms like Rooter to grow even faster from here.We at Rooter always anticipated this to happen in the near future and so we kept on investing in other games. Most of the users and content creators on our platform engage in games other than PUBG. Rooter had less than 10 per cent PUBG streamers and it was a conscious effort on our part to ensure that we focus more on other games like Free Fire and Call of Duty. Both the games have strong engagement on Rooter and most of their top streamers are part of our user base. That said, in the last two and a half months, Rooter has witnessed unprecedented growth by adding nearly 3 million users. This ban will further fuel the growth, which will help us become a dominant player in the market.”

Indian Gaming League (IGL), CEO Yash Pariani

Indian Gaming League (IGL), CEO Yash Pariani shares, “This may seem like a loss to the Esports community, however, in the interest of national security, the country must take whatever precautions they deem necessary. There are plenty of other games to fill the void for PUBG and IGL have started capitalising on the recent surge of demand for these other games as soon as the ban was announced. Games such as Call of Duty(COD) Mobile, Free Fire and Fortnite may see a surge in users in India. While we may see some players move to other platforms such as PUBG PC, the majority who prefer the mobile version will be sticking to similar games on the same platform which would be COD Mobile. This will affect millions of gamers, it will have the same effect as it did when TikTok was banned for the influencers that had made a living from that platform, however, for the time being, we will see PUBG influencers and players switching to other games to make a living, it may be a set back for them but eventually, their audiences will also respond to the change. With this ban in effect, we may even see a version of the game that the audiences have grown to know and love, be developed here itself from India.”

EWar Games founder Parth Chadha

EWar Games founder Parth Chadha shares, “The spaceship of Esports in India has just took off. PUBG getting banned is definitely not the end. Its quiet possible that this is just a temporary ban. And if that’s not the case, we must not get disheartened. I believe it’s the community that shapes the future of the industry, not the game. But, we all must agree to the fact that PUBG Mobile has done a phenomenal job at introducing millions of Indians to Esports.”

Rheo founder and CEO Saksham Keshri

Rheo founder and CEO Saksham Keshri shares,  “The latest ban on PUBG announced by the government has definitely led to an immediate catch-22 situation for hardcore PUBG gamers of India. However, we strongly believe this is just a temporary setback, and notwithstanding this ban, the gaming community and e-sports industry at large in our country shall continue to grow in the months and years to come; we can say this with confidence because gaming as a skill is never limited to a particular game.Even though PUBG is banned, other games like FreeFire, Valorant and Call of Duty are gaining  lot of popularity in recent times, and these games will now take over as the flag-bearers of gaming and esports in India in the near future. This incident further paves a great opportunity for other amazing games to be discovered. We also are hopeful that a decent number of ‘Made-in-India’ games and gaming-based companies will now rise to the occasion and work  cohesively to bolster and create a brighter future for the nation’s e-sports ecosystem.”

Dr. Rushindra Sinha and Mohit Israney,

Global Esports founders Dr. Rushindra Sinha and Mohit Israney, shares “Globally, the esports industry has been booming and a lot of its growth, especially in the last three years, is attributed to the Indian gaming community.There’s no doubt that PUBG Mobile has accelerated the Indian esports scenario to a whole new level where the world is now taking notice of Indian gamers and teams. However, at this point in time, our country’s security and sovereignty should rightly precede every other action. While we all as gamers are rooting for a dialogue and corrective actions in terms of data security and privacy concerns, we want to remind the community of gamers to not lose hope. We have a fair share of gaming titles to choose from, across mobile, PC & consoles and a lot of these can benefit from the gaming skills PUBG players have developed over the years.”

Esports Club co-founder Ishaan Arya

 The Esports Club co-founder Ishaan Arya says, “The PUBG Mobile ban comes at a very critical time for Indian Esports. PUBG Mobile was one of the major driving factors behind the growth of gaming and esports in India with a large portion of investments within the space concentrated around the PUBG Mobile ecosystem of events, broadcasts & content. The most unfortunate outcome of this sudden move is that it now leaves thousands of players, and hundreds of organizers , journalists, broadcasters etc with an uncertain future as PUBG Esports was indirectly responsible for their jobs. This is the unseen Human cost of this move that most people will overlook as they jump onto jokes about PUBG Mobile getting banned. With PUBG Mobile‘s uncertain future, it also paves the way for it’s competitors like Garena Free Fire and COD Mobile to step in and fill the void and rapidly acquire new players in their bid to become the number 1 mobile battle royale game in India.”

Hitwicket VP growth and co-founder Keerti Singh

Hitwicket VP growth and co-founder Keerti Singh shares,“Gaming market in India today is largely dominated by western and Chinese developers. PUBG is estimated to have generated close to $100 mn from Indian gamers – that’s the potential of the Gaming market in India. Currently, India is the no.1 country in terms of game downloads, but when it comes to revenue, a significant portion of this revenue is going outside the country. When we talk about digital goods, it is very easy for gaming companies which are settled abroad to add India to their market, there is not much additional infrastructure that they need to invest in. However, if the gaming industry in India were to be dominated by homegrown apps, you can imagine the kind of ecosystem and the employment opportunities that it could generate. Mobile gaming has gone from 0 to $70 bn in less than 15 years, which signifies the immense potential of its growth in India.  PM Modi’s Aatmanirbhar App Innovation challenge, was right on the pulse of the youth, that gaming is the new age soft power to engage with the youth. This move by the Government to ban Chinese apps is a wave that is going to inspire and create opportunities for Indian app developers to think big and to think global. In addition, the Aatmanirbhar App Innovation challenge was a great morale booster for the Indian developers. It was a moment of pride for our entire team as our game, Hitwicket Superstars was awarded the no. 1 game in India and for us to be a part of PM Modi’s vision of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.” 

 

9Stacks CEO Sudhir Kamath

9Stacks CEO Sudhir Kamath shares,”We welcome the action taken by the government against various apps that are potential security risks for Indian users. Within the gaming sector, while legitimate Indian companies operate in accordance with Indian regulations and pay taxes, there are still quite a few foreign companies operating illegally. In recent weeks one Chinese owned online gambling syndicate was busted and companies like Linkyun, Dokypay and Beijing Tomorrow Power were shut down, 47 cr was confiscated by the government. Even now, there are illegal foreign companies like PP Poker and GG Poker operating in India and illegally taking money from Indians and sending it abroad – we hope the government cracks down on these as well. These companies aren’t paying any taxes in India or following any Indian regulations, and there is no way for customers to get their dues if they’re cheated. They’re not members of industry self-regulatory bodies like All India Gaming Federation or the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports. They either have direct Chinese ownership or opaque ownership structures which possibly lead back to China.”  

PokerDangal CEO and founder Varun Mahna

PokerDangal CEO and founder Varun Mahna, “an online gaming platform said “A reiterate step like this in favor of our Nation’s sovereignty is a masterstroke I must say, India again won its spurs as one of the independent nations. We can finally say now that India is moving quickly towards being a developed nation, and brave steps like these, show how strong we are on the abstraction of ‘MAKE IN INDIA.’ Like I said earlier, abolishing Chinese applications will not only preserve our nation’s security and youth development but will also allow capable Indian growing platforms like ours’ to come forward and show their true potential. Honestly, we are obliged to our government and believe that Indians will now prioritize native platforms over foreign ones, which will enable us to showcase our creativity, talent, and strong motives to serve the society in a better way. I can’t say about others, but PokerDangal and our entire team appreciates the ban of Chinese apps and is inclined to contribute our pleasing services more delightfully in respect of progressing movement ‘MAKE IN INDIA’”.

The news has hit hard the fans of PUBG Mobile, as they started  posting their uncut feelings about the fact on micro blogging site Twitter and all other social media platforms. Some says ‘country first’ some says since Modi banned PUBG thus his account got hacked and some also shared their hilarious memes.Check out:

 

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