India’s ban on Chinese games
Asia is one of the biggest markets when it comes to the gaming industry. According to a market report shared by Niko, there were 535M mobile and PC gamers in Asia in the year 2019 which is projected to reach 826M by the year 2024. These whooping numbers represent a huge opportunity for game developers and publishers. Among Asian countries, the fastest-growing market in India, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Despite India being a promising venue for games, there isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the industry. A political spat and military tension between India and China caused a considerable dent in the gaming industry. Following military tensions at the border lead to a ban on 59 Chinese apps and six weeks later a ban was expanded to 118 more apps.
The two-part ban included the famous social media app TikTok and several games such as PUBG, Ludo All-Star, Art of Conquest, and many others. The ban applies to the Chinese publishers but not Chinese developers because PUBG Mobile is developed and published by Tencent and is banned, on the contrary, Call of Duty is also developed by Tencent but published by Activision and is not banned.
The Indian government has targeted those Chinese apps that are popular among the local population. The most popular genre among Indians is Battle Royale and MOBA. The ban severely impacted PUBG as it was the top-ranking game in India in 2019 and 2020 consecutively with 200 million downloads. The ban also affected esports and other rising Indian stars.
The ban on PUBG resulted in a download surge of 118% between August 2020 and September 2020 for Call of Duty Mobile and Garena Free Fire as both these games offered Battle Royale along with other modes. Though users flocked from PUBG to COD and Free Fire, the amount of money spent on in-game purchases on the latter was considerably low. On the other hand, the vacuum left by Mobile Legends after the ban is yet to be fulfilled by any other game.
PUBG Corp has recently announced that they will launch an exclusive PUBG Mobile India to bring back the game in the country. But this won’t be enough to cope with the overall ban that the Chinese gaming industry is facing. If PUBG’s efforts turn out to be fruitful, other developers may follow suit. We will keep you updated on the issue. Till then!