Earlier today professional player Parichay Bansal aka Paradox revealed that the organization he was playing for, Megastars, has decided to let go of its players. The move comes five days after the Indian Government banned PUBG Mobile in the country, citing security concerns with 118 apps. The team were one of the top names in the Indian PUBG Mobile circuit and key stakeholders in the esports scene as both players and organization find themselves staring into an uncertain future.
The GOI’s decision to ban PUBG Mobile has caused a ripple effect across the Indian esports and gaming industry. The title was by far the most popular one in the subcontinent and single-handedly responsible for making gaming mainstream in the region. PUBG Mobile’s popularity gave rise to an entire ecosystem of content creators, influencers, streamers, professional players, teams and tournament organizers, all of whom depended on the game’s success and popularity to make careers. Now with the game banned, many find that they have to take drastic steps and reevaluate their future.
Megastars Disband PUBG Mobile Roster
Indian side, Megastars are one of the first big names to pull the plug, as was announced via Paradox on his Instagram. He said that the decision was made due to the ban on the game as the organization decided to shut down their PUBG Mobile division. Paradox also thanked the organization for supporting them in their journey and wished them the best. Megastars were one of the 7 Indian teams competing at the recently concluded PUBG Mobile World League Season Zero. The team finished in 10th place in the Eastern Division and were set to play in PMPL Season 2, which was supposed to kick off later this month.
The Indian esports ecosystem has several teams operating PUBG Mobile divisions, all of whom have made significant investments in the last year. This also includes foreign organizations such as Fnatic, TSM, Nova Esports and Galaxy Racer, all of whom find themselves stuck in a tricky position. To continue supporting their teams and players might seem like the morally correct move, but there is a realistic scenario in which PUBG Mobile remains banned for the foreseeable future. In that case, it would not be economically viable to keep funding player salaries and boot camps in the hopes that the game is unbanned. Organizations are also looking at other ways to utilize their resources such as shifting to other titles. With the ban on PUBG, titles such as Garena Free Fire and Call of Duty: Mobile are expected to see an growth in terms of player base and watch time. With global esports ecosystems already in place, one can’t fault team owners and organizations for considering these options given the current situation.
Indian esports has seen a massive boom in the last year with investment and money pouring into the scene and allowing it lay a solid foundation. Much of this has been possible due to the success of PUBG Mobile. With the game being banned almost overnight, there are some big question marks that many are trying to find answers to. One of the big ones of course is whether to pull out and cut losses or try and hold on and hope Tencent and the GOI are able to resolve their differences. The coming week will be an important one for Indian esports as various stakeholders continue to monitor the situation and take decisions based on new information available.