The ban on PUBG Mobile implemented last week left a void in the Indian mobile gaming scene. The 118 apps banned by the government earlier this month also included a few alternatives to PUBG Mobile including Rules of Survival, Cyber Hunter, Knives Out, and others. The ban proved to be a boon for other similar games like Garena Free Fire and Call of Duty: Mobile leading to an influx of downloads.
According to a report by Entrackr, during the period between 2nd and 5th September, Garena Free Fire and Call of Duty Mobile were among the three top downloaded games on iOS and Android devices. The third game, Ludo King has also seen a massive surge in downloads during the lockdowns despite not being a direct competitor to PUBG Mobile. Garena Free Fire recorded a total of 2.1 million downloads during this period whereas Call of Duty Mobile got 1.15 million downloads. This surge made Garena Free Fire the top free and grossing game on the Google Play Store.
According to Sensor Tower, Total Garena Games Online mobile app revenue in August 2020 was $54 million ($18 million for iOS and $ 36 million for Android AppStore). The total downloads for Garena Games Online were 25 million, including 3m iOS app downloads and 22m Android app downloads. Garena Games Online has a total of 115 apps, including 56 iOS apps, and 59 Android apps. Their top-grossing app last month was Garena Free Fire and their most downloaded app was Garena Free Fire.
A homegrown alternative to PUBG Mobile, called ‘PABJE: Player And BattleJung Ends’ garnered over 100,000 downloads despite its bad reviews and an overall rating of 2.2 stars. The game seems like a knock-off of PUBG Mobile but is being downloaded by players who still want that PUBG Mobile feel. There is currently no version of the game available on Apple’s App Store.
In the wake of the PUBG Mobile ban in India, the PUBG Corporation has taken over the publishing rights for the game from Tencent in the region. The move is aimed at distancing the game from the Chinese conglomerate as tensions between India and China continue to run high. This is also a positive sign for gamers in the country as it may lead to the game being unbanned.
In a statement put out by PUBG Corp, the company mentions that it understands and respects the Indian Government’s concerns while also having seen the tremendous amount of support and love for the game by players in the region. The announcement says “PUBG Corporation has made the decision to no longer authorize the PUBG MOBILE franchise to Tencent Games in India. Moving forward, PUBG Corporation will take on all publishing responsibilities within the country. As the company explores ways to provide its own PUBG experience for India in the near future, it is committed to doing so by sustaining a localized and healthy gameplay environment for its fans.”