Player Unknown’s Battleground is a battle royale form online multiplayer game which was initially published in 2017 by PUBG Corporation which is a Korean Video Gaming Company. The game is played by 100 players simultaneously who are on a mission to survive till the very end. There are different maps, zones, guns and other tools which make the game look realistic. Today, it is accounted as the most popular mobile game across the globe and gives employment to multiple gamers who compete in worldwide tournaments such as PUBG Mobile Premier League amongst others. The ban on PUBG due to questions on national security has certainly created a stir in the esports industry. Let us have a look at the PUBG market along with what India and its investors can actually gain from the ban.
THE PUBG MARKET
The market revenue for Player Unknown’s Battleground is as much as $3 billion as per June, 2020 while it saw a gain of $1.3 billion within the initial six months of the year. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, revenues in March this year mounted as much as $270 million for a single month. This is the highest monthly revenue the game ever generated. The game has more than 50 million active players which makes it the most popular and sensational game across the globe. China has contributed the most to the game’s monetary success mounting its shares to about 50%. The United States and Japan are second and third in line with a massive contribution of 14% and 5.6% respectively. However, it is India which ranks first in terms of the number of downloads as well as total and active user base of the game. With over 175 million downloads in the country, India’s contribution to the PUBG market remains unprecedented. As of 2018, there were about 500 million casual gamers and 1000 professional gamers in India. This makes India the most rapidly rising mobile game market.
HOW DID IT MAKE MONEY?
1. IN-APP PURCHASES – Player Unknown’s Battleground was essentially free for Android devices. This remained a reason for its massive popularity and accessibility. However, a part of the profits earned by the PUBG stakeholders can be attributed to in-app purchases. For those who have played the game are well aware of multiple purchase options which can fetch the players updated guns and their skins, costumes, features and emoticons. There are also the very famous royale season passes which can make the players move further ahead on the points table globally. Because of a very high engagement of the game, a majority of the users of the game ended up purchasing at least one of these premium features in India.
2. LIVE STREAMING – There has been a sudden rise in live streaming of eSports including PUBG during the last 5 years. Many famous youtubers today are in fact regular PUBG streamers in India. Since streaming is a monetized activity in itself, the streamers who stream PUBG must pay a proportion of their earnings to the company in consideration. This is also how PUBG made a lot of money.
3. COMPETITIONS AND TOURNAMENTS – E-sports is a massive industry. It has numerous events, competitions and tournaments which happen almost every month. Games like Player Unknown’s Battleground amongst others earn massive amounts when these games become a part of the event. Thus, a good means of monetization.
4. BRAND COLLABORATIONS – There are a lot of tie-ups with other companies and brands for mutually beneficial purposes. Promoting other brands also becomes a means of earning for successful games like PUBG.
5. SPONSORS – Sponsors offer fund popular games. This happens because they wish to promote their own brand along with the game. This is also how many games like PUBG earn large revenues.
THE BAN :
- BOTH LITE AND MOBILE BANNED – The Indian government has banned both PUBG Mobile as well as PUBG mobile lite. This comes as a big shock to players as well as the stakeholders of the esport in consideration. The ban is indefinite at the moment and the duration remains uncertain until the cross-border situation is resolved.
- DESKTOP VERSION IS STILL FUNCTIONAL – As a sigh of relief to the players, the desktop version of the very popular game is available for play. Thus avid and regular players can have full access to the game on this platform.
- ONLY A FEW ALTERNATIVES – Ever since the news of the ban came forward, experts have cited various alternatives for Player Unknown’s Battleground. Some of them include games like fortnite and counter strike. However, the wide acceptance and popularity of PUBG requires a game completely similar for the players to rejoice.
THE FUTURE OF INDIAN GAMING:
- INITIAL CRUNCH FOR GAMERS – As much a shock the ban on PUBG has been for the players regularly, a bigger setback has been experienced by the players who play this game as a profession. India has been home to many successful gamers who earn massive revenues by playing PUBG. In the absence of the game it is surely a challenge for the players to master an alternative game and make their position strong as a player of another sport.
- OTHER GAMES MAY SHOOT TO FAME – Ever since the news of PUBG ban has arrived, there are multiple other projects which have been initiated in order to compensate and provide an alternative for the game. This includes one of the most famous alternatives being launched as Fau-G which is an Indian online multiplayer similar to the game of PUBG. Both follow the first person shooter method of gaming and are speculated to be based on the same battle royale concept. Some completely different games like Fall Guys have also shot to fame.
- MORE PUBG ALTERNATIVES IN THE MAKING – There are also speculations of various other games being launched and initiated in the near future if the absence of pubg lasts longer. While talking about the domestic country, it is a golden opportunity for the Indian sports industry to bloom if it is able to provide its audience with a plausible alternative of Player Unknown’s Battleground or some completely different game which resonates equally with the players.
HOW CAN INDIAN INVESTORS BENEFIT FROM THIS?
- DEVELOP IN INDIA – The absence of the most famous and played online game in the country has generated tremendous opportunities for the country as a whole as well as its various investors. Adding on to the Make in India campaign, it is now time for the country to come forward with the ‘develop in India’ campaign wherein Indian companies can be encouraged to develop homegrown games which can help flourishing the Indian esports industry. With the statistics of gaming in India it is for certain that establishing an independent culture of esports within the country will not only benefit the country in terms of revenue but also generate a lot of employment within the country. Meanwhile, it is also a perfect time for Indian companies to showcase their commendable ability of using artificial intelligence, Augmented reality and virtual reality in the most efficient way to produce a game which connects to the editor audience and beyond as much as Player Unknown’s Battleground did.
- FUNDING AND SPONSORSHIP – It is certain that for this campaign to go forward there is a definite requirement of funds and sponsorship for such companies. Here is where the role of Indian investors can be highlighted. By funding and appropriating the cost of development of games for these companies in India the domestic investors can not only create a Win-Win situation for themselves but also contribute to the bigger picture of making India self reliant in terms of technology as well. Talking about the benefit to the investors, an industry has the most to offer while it is reaching its peak. Therefore investing into game development by domestic companies at a time when the Indian government has completely prohibited the use of the most popular online game in the country can only and only generate profits.
- HIGH RETURNS – The only question which arises now is whether the online gaming or the esports industry would be a good choice for investment especially in India. The answer is in the affirmative. With one of the highest users engagement across the globe Indian gaming industry, if exists exclusively, will generate revenue as much as any big global gaming company if not more. The generous investment by the Indian investors will lead to a large amount of profits eventually. Keeping in mind the ability to develop an engaging game at the earliest while pubg is still banned in the country strongly decides how much profit can the investors make while the likeliness of a profit in general is almost certain.
Player Unknown’s Battleground and most other Battle Royale games require softwares like Unreal Engine for efficient game development. To know more about development of games like PUBG, check our service page on Unreal Engine Game Development.