Battlegrounds Mobile India Ban Fear Looms Due To PUBG Mobile Association
Battlegrounds Mobile India can't let go off the PUBG Mobile comparisons.
PUBG Mobile was banned in India last year along with several other Chinese apps citing privacy concerns. Since that, Krafton has taken some significant steps in the Indian region, ranging from investing in Nodwin Gaming, an Indian esports entity, to donating to the PM Cares Fund for fighting COVID-19.
A few weeks ago, Krafton had announced Battlegrounds Mobile India. When the announcement was made, the game was marketed as a completely new game altogether, which does make sense considering the fact that any comparisons to PUBG Mobile might put it under scrutiny from the government.
According to a previous report on IGN India, Krafton had in fact asked creators to not mention PUBG Mobile anywhere, with employees even going to the extent of threatening creators to comply with these rules. It seems like Krafton hasn’t let go of the association with PUBG Mobile entirely itself, as the package name itself contains PUBG Mobile instead of Battlegrounds Mobile India.
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The url of the store page states the package name as “com.pubg.imobile”. The ‘i’ stands for India, so this build is for the Indian version. However, what’s interesting is the inclusion of PUBG in the package name. In a conversation with IGN India, various developers have stated that the developers have used the nomenclature for better discoverability.
Right now, on searching for PUBG Mobile on Google, users from India do get the PUBG Mobile Play Store link in the search results. Considering that Krafton will avoid any associations with PUBG Mobile, it hasn’t mentioned the same anywhere on the Battlegrounds Mobile India store page. However, it has played around with the package name to boost the game’s visibility.
What’s interesting is the fact that Krafton has claimed that Battlegrounds Mobile India is a completely new experience. One developer has stated that “the `com.pubg.imobile` is a package directory root, changing that isn’t straightforward and may end up into a buggy mess which Krafton cannot afford“.
This raises some serious doubts on Krafton’s claims and possibly hints towards the fact that Battlegrounds Mobile India is a repackaged and rebranded form of PUBG Mobile. Also, it seems unlikely that Krafton would risk getting the game banned, merely for the sake of SEO, considering that it wouldn’t take long for people to know about Battlegrounds Mobile India with various content creators aggressively promoting the game. While this move is surely beneficial from a SEO standpoint, whether it can have long-term implications remains to be seen.
Pre-registrations are already live for the game, and it will be interesting to see how the Indian government reacts to this. Considering that apps and games don’t need to be approved before launching in India, it is quite less likely that there will be any issues before launch. However, if the associations with PUBG Mobile keep coming, things might get quite dicey for Battlegrounds Mobile India.