At the beginning of September, the Indian Government put out a press release announcing a ban on PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile LITE. The government decided to ban these apps citing that they were prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, Defence of India, Security of State and Public Order. Now, however, PUBG players and fans in India may soon be able to play the Battle Royale as a Reliance Jio game. PUBG is reportedly in talks with Jio, the telecom wing of Reliance Industries Ltd to take over as a potential publisher and distributor in the country.
According to a Business Line Report, PUBG Corporation, the South Korean publisher behind PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), may work with the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio to resume its operations in India after the ban. After cancelling its licence with Tencent, PUBG Corporation is now engaged in talks. “The talks are in an early stage, which began just after the government’s second round of bans. Officials from both the sides are working out the contours of how to structure various aspects of the deal,” according to a source.
Another source added that matters pertaining to revenue share as well as localisation are being discussed. “Legal experts from both sides are exploring possibilities on how revenues should be split, whether it would be 50:50 or Jio guaranteeing PUBG revenues based on a fixed number of users every month,” sources added. However, no official statement has been put out by either Reliance Jio or PUBG Corporation. India has one of the highest number of PUBG Mobile players with over 175 million downloads (a quarter of the installations worldwide) and a thriving esports ecosystem. A ban had brought that whole system to a grinding halt.
Would Reliance Jio Be A Good Fit?
In the wake of the PUBG Mobile ban in India, PUBG Corporation took over the publishing rights for the game from Tencent in an attempt to distance it from the Chinese giant. This indicated that PUBG would look to other companies to partner with and ensure continuity for PUBG Mobile in the country and perhaps even cater the experience to a more local audience with the right expertise.
PUBG had previously entered into a partnership with Jio in 2019. Jio users who registered for PUBG Lite received rewards for buying their in-game merchandise. Discussions are now on to make this a full-fledged partnership. With 144 million users playing 22 minutes a day, the potential to deliver content to a large audience through networks like Jio has yet to be tapped into and will require a specialised developer talent to take full advantage of it, says Rishi Alwani of The Mako Reactor. Perhaps PUBG may have found that in Reliance Jio.