By Gourav Dey
Battlegrounds Mobile India, a revamp of the original game, has officially been launched in India. Being one of the most anticipated releases for the Indian mobile gaming community, the hype is real. One cannot simply deny the milestones it generated. The advent of E-sports in India might not originate through PUBG Mobile but certainly brought in the necessary wave of growth in the sector.
The PC and Console version of the game was released in late 2017, since then it has attracted millions of gamers. The genre of Battle Royale was already there before the introduction of PlayerUnkown's Battleground. But together with Fortnite, PUBG helped the growth of the genre and made it what it is today. No arguments needed.
I remember playing both of the games, the PC version as well as the mobile version. But, even though the PC version was top notch it had a limited fan base in India. It was demanding and one needed to have a proper gaming configuration to enjoy a smooth experience.
After the release of the mobile version, the popularity was skyrocketing and for legitimate reasons nonetheless. It was entertaining and accessible, to say the least; the android version featured most of the technicalities of the parent game toned down to further suit the gameplay of a mobile device. The game even influenced the sale of smartphones. The game was a total phenomenon. From my point of view, only Counter-Strike (both 1.6 and GO) and GTA Vice City (San Andreas also comes close) have left a similar impact on the Indian demographic as PUBGM has.
And the furthering of that conversation soon led to the development of competitive events at the Indian regional level and PUBGM Club Open (PMCO) which garnered views in millions. All of a sudden, gaming was not just another leisure activity but emerged as a decent career option. Players like Naman ‘Mortal’ Mathur, Yash ‘Viper’ Soni, Tanmay ‘Sc0utOP’ Singh and many others played an important role in the foundation of a blooming new faction.
From professional gamers to YouTubers, the capitalization of the opportunity came from all and sundry. Case in point: CarryMinati and Tanmay Bhat utilised the game to provide an alternative to competitive streaming. The game was heavily streamed under the banner of many other platforms, Twitch, Facebook etc. And the response was unmatched which led to the entry of other hotshots in the Mobile Gaming Community. The rise of Call of Duty Mobile and the upcoming titles such as Final Fantasy: First Soldier and Apex Legends Mobile is definitely linked with the success of PUBGM.
More than 50 million copies of the PC variant were sold worldwide within the first year1 but the real insurgence occurred when the mobile version was introduced. We would rather not indulge in discussing how laggy and unoptimized the game was when it was first released. It flourished rapidly to become an exceptional game by the end of the first quadrant of its launch.
Free Fire and Fortnite Mobile being the major competitors back then. PUBG Mobile was perceptibly going to break the mould of mobile gaming, as Fortnite Mobile was only supportive on a handful of devices and Free Fire was decent but felt inadequate when compared to notable titles.
Countless memories were created during the two years before the ban in September 2020. All the arguments, the celebrations, and the chemistry among squad members will be coming back to life hopefully.
It was a revolutionary breakthrough; people from across the country with the help of a cellular device can now jump into multiplayer like none other. The rise of a dedicated E-sports community was in sight. The game established the trend of Battle Royale genres for mobile devices. Hopefully, the community will thrive once again as the date of launch is inching its way through time.