Professional PUBG gamers left in the lurch as Indian government bans Tencent’s iconic battle royale game

Professional PUBG gamers left in the lurch as Indian government bans Tencent’s iconic battle royale game
Professional PUBG players during tournamentPUBG Mobile/Playtonia
  • The Indian government banned 118 Chinese mobile applications on Wednesday, including Tencent’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).
  • PUBG is one of the primary catalysts behind the boom in the gaming industry in India.
  • Professional PUBG gamers now have to decide whether to choose a new game or regress to their back up options.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is a big part of the gaming industry boom in India. Now, with the Indian government banning the Tencent-owned game under the shadow of border tension with China, professional gamers who were betting on PUBG for their livelihood are left wondering what’s next.

“It’s absolutely shocking and too sudden to even comprehend or react,” professional PUBG gamer Mehul Dey told Business Insider. Sakriya Puri — a member of The Terrifying Nightmares squad — believes that gamers will either have to choose another game or regress to their back up plans.

Neither solution is a quick fix. Learning all the tips and tricks of a new game to reach a level where you can professionally compete takes time. Looking for alternative employment options in the nine-to-five arena has its own risks with companies going slow on new hiring under the uncertain economic circumstances.
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Can Indian PUBG gamers still compete?
Professional PUBG gamers in India generally earn anywhere between ₹5,000 to ₹45,000 per month once they sign up with an esports company. The main chunk of their earnings come from winning tournaments like the PUBG Mobile Championship Open (PMCO) and the PUBG Mobile Star Challenge (PMSC) with grand prizes that go up to $2 million.

“It was not easy for people to believe that Gaming or Esports could also be chosen as a profession but now everyone was considering it to be a career because of PUBG that the gaming scenario was brought out to such a huge audience,” explained Puri.

PUBG is yet to issue a statement on the future of PUBG tournaments in India. If the government blocks PUBG on Indian IP addresses, as they did with Chinese mobile apps, which were banned in the first list, then competing won’t be possible.

Even if one were to use a VPN to access the game, it would slow down reaction times and put Indian gamers at a disadvantage against their peers. “People outside will have a better ping advantage over us, which will make it very difficult for us to win or even give good competition,” said Dey.

Should PUBG gamers migrate to alternatives like Fortnite or Garena Free Fire?
If a gamer is signed up with a particular Esports company, it’s possible that may shift towards another game. However, not everyone is necessarily in the mood to do so. “Being so closely associated with the game it's really hard for me to make any decision towards any other game,” said Dey.

For those who’re on their own, shifting gears will be harder. “Every gamer should definitely have a backup plan in my opinion because the community and the industry is too small for everyone to get an opportunity,” said Puri.

The massively popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is among the 118 apps that the Indian government banned amid border tension with China. For India, the move means keeping the data of Indian users within Indian borders. But for professional gamers, it could possibly mean looking at alternative careers.

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