It would appear the sun hasn’t quite set on plans to launch PUBG Mobile INDIA: a standalone version of the game designed for that region alone—just yet. If a hastily deleted YouTube video is anything to go by, the gears may still be turning at Krafton, who last year vowed to get the popular Battle Royale title brought back to the region following the game’s sudden controversial ban.
As tensions heated up with China last year surrounding the country border, India banned a number of Chinese mobile apps it viewed as potential security risks. Though other games got the chop, Chinese publisher Tencent managed to avoid falling foul of the new rule, giving PUBG Mobile a welcome stay of execution for a time.
It didn’t take too much longer for the Indian government to slap the game on its list of banned apps, yet no real effort was made to actively quash access in the region. Players were still easily able to download, update, and play on the same servers with the same accounts as before. Nothing really changed. But there was no guarantee that it never would.
Soon enough, things did change. And not necessarily for the better. In October 2020, India pulled the plug on PUBG Mobile entirely, blocking access to the game just as the rest of the world got the perfectly titled New Era update. Likely looking to prevent the PUBG name from being synonymously linked to China at this point, South Korean IP holder Krafton revoked Tencent’s claim to the PUBG name in India, vying to work with the government to rerelease the game in a way that would satisfy the region’s security demands. It never happened.
Despite rumors of big names in Indian telecoms being in the running to gain the publishing contract, the idea of PUBG Mobile INDIA ever launching began to look like a distant dream. Even with the Krafton developed sequel PUBG: New State looking to launch this year, not only has an Indian release not been mentioned, but the company has been relatively tightlipped about bringing back the original game India fell in love with over the years.
It’s been months since PUBG Mobile INDIA was officially teased as “COMING SOON.” Half a year, in fact. But today, a hint of noise disturbed the radio silence, giving India a glimmer of hope. On the official PUBG Mobile INDIA YouTube channel was a fresh new video. It didn’t give a planned release date or even any new information at all, but its existence was enough to instill the idea that the project hasn’t been quietly canned, and that perhaps good news was on the horizon. And then it vanished.
It being unceremoniously deleted hasn’t answered any longstanding questions, but there’s now a revitalized air of speculation and anticipation in places like the official (and still very much alive) PUBG Mobile INDIA Discord channel. Was it a scheduled video the company forgot to take down when their plans went awry, or something that went up sooner than it should have? The answer isn’t clear, but what is clear is that India is still very much looking forward to those chicken dinners. They are getting cold, though.
Disclaimer: Fanbyte is owned by Tencent, which also runs Tencent Games, developer and publisher of PUBG Mobile. Tencent also subsidizes much of Fanbyte’s PUBG Mobile coverage by covering freelancer budget costs. Those covering PUBG Mobile for the site have no contact with Tencent, however, and are given complete creative control to write whatever they wish.