The rising tension at the Indo-China border is quite evident in the heartland too and sensing that the Union Government on Wednesday, i.e, 2nd September 2020, banned 118 additional Chinese apps including one of the most popular games in the entire world, PUBG MOBILE. It is so famous that it has made a benchmark for smartphone makers to compete among buyers.
India is one of the largest digital markets for any country which offers digital solutions and products. But at the same time, the message of trade with tranquility is important. Hence, there are strong reasons for banning PUBG at this hour when there is tension rising between China and India.
Upasana Joshi, Associate Research Manager at IDC India, feels, “This was brewing from sometime now, along with other China-based apps getting banned. PUBG is amongst the very popular games, played by consumers both on mobile phones and other gaming devices. However, the ban on a particular app/game should not hinder the interest of gamers/consumers as space will be filled with other renowned games/app in some time.”
The Ministry of Information and Technology said that these apps were prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense, security, and public order. After banning TikTok and other multiple apps of Chinese origin, it was expected of the government to take such harsh and decisive measures.
The PUBG ban has also raised concerns about the entire ecosystem of gaming in India. The most affected out of these are game developers, the gaming community, chipset makers, and smartphone sellers. There was a whole ecosystem of gaming and e-sports grooming in India but, this step would be disheartening for them. PUBG’s popularity is so wild that e-sporting tournaments have come up in India with crores of prize money in offering supported by players like OPPO, Vivo, and OnePlus.
Smartphone players had started optimizing their phone’s display, battery, design, and processor as PUBG MOBILE developed and came into existence.
“PUBG is definitely one of the most popular games. In fact, its popularity has made it a benchmark as many smartphone makers show how PUBG works optimally on their devices during launch events. This is an area for Indian gaming companies to get into and very quickly to take over the space. There is no need of looking at if there is a market, etc,” elaborates Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst at techARC.
The overall tension between the two countries does bring some negativity for the smartphone market, which is dominated by Chinese brands. At the same time, even for other brands, the component ecosystem is in China, directly or indirectly. If the tension further escalates, it could affect adversely the entire industry and not just the Chinese brands alone.
However, looking at the very importance of smartphones, I don’t think the government will take any such step like banning Chinese brands to operate in India. There will be a huge vacuum in the market, which cannot be just overcome. Further, there are other macro-economic implications like jobs, etc., these brands make possible in India.
“The gaming even if PUBG is banned will not go away and will still remain a leading use case on smartphones. So chipset companies shall have to continue optimising the products for the gaming experience,” added Faisal.