PUBG was banned in India on Wednesday, along with 117 other apps, most of them Chinese. PUBG, or PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), has been a huge phenomenon in mobile gaming in India. Reports suggest that there were anywhere between 33 to 50 million active PUBG players in India in 2019.
Here are some interesting facts about one of the most popular mobile games in India in recent times, and its influences on gaming culture in India.
Highest downloads in India
Among the top-grossing mobile games globally, PUBG sees the highest number of downloads in India. Reports from July this year suggest 175 million or 17.5 crore installs. More recent reports suggest that this number could have gone up to 20 crore installs before the ban.
Competitive gaming and award money
While many players do play PUBG as a fun pastime, there are also majors tournaments and championships involving huge amounts of prize money. India's first official PUBG Mobile Campus Championship was held in 2018. The total prize money involved was Rs 50,00,000, with the winning team getting Rs 15,00,000 award, according to reports. The event was hugely popular, with 250,000 registrations, and players in attendance from more than 1,000 colleges across 30 cities.
The PUBG Mobile Campus Championship for 2020 was recently announced. Another tournament was recently announced for players of PUBG Mobile Lite, with a total prize money of nearly Rs 5 lakh up for grabs.
The PUBG Fever
In 2018, a PUBG-themed mobile store was opened by Oppo in Bengaluru. The store was designed to look like the battleground in the PUBGâ€‰Mobile game. The same year, in Jaipur, a PUBG-themed cafe was opened. Opened by a PUBG player, the cafe was also named PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Belly Grounds), and offered the famous â€śchicken dinnerâ€ť, from the phrase used in the game to greet winners of a match.
In 2019, a PUBG-themed pre-wedding photoshoot of a Mumbai-based couple went viral, amid demands calling for a ban on the game owing to its massive popularity and influence among youngsters.
Celebrities who play PUBG
Many Indian cricketers are known to play PUBG, including MS Dhoni, Yuzvendra Chahal and Hardik Pandya.
Rapper Badshah has also said that he plays the game occasionally and has been associated with tournaments where he has performed.
Earlier in June, the government of India suddenly banned 59 Chinese apps including Tik Tok, Shein, Camscanner, Club Factory, among others. However, PUBG was not banned then, as it is not entirely Chinese. The game has been created and managed by Bluehole which is a South Korean organisation.
The recent ban on 118 apps was â€śin view of the emergent nature of threatsâ€ť, a statement from the government said, claiming that the apps were â€śengaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.â€ťOther apps banned this time include Baidu, WeChat Work and Ludo.
â€śThis move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace,â€ť the statement added.