On September 2, 2020, Indian gamers received some expected, but nonetheless major news: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds had been banned across the nation.
As detailed in this BBC news report, PUBG Mobile was just one of more than 110 apps to get cut from the Indian market, but the removal of the Krafton product, in particular, put a crater in the new-but-fast-growing gaming industry.
Esports Insider reports that the popular game had over 33 million daily active users and had blown past 200 million installs in India.
In the year since, many faithful players turned to downloading the PUBG Mobile APK, while others tested similar battle royale games.
Initially, Garena Free Fire and Call of Duty: Mobile dominated the charts, with another game, Fearless and United Guards, also trying to capitalize on the situation. Now, CoD Mobile, especially, has fallen well down the India Android gaming charts, sitting 22nd as of September 8, with Garena in 2nd.
The release of a follow-up Krafton game specifically for the nation, Battlegrounds Mobile India, instantly booted out the pretenders to the throne.
Only launched on July 2, 2021, BGMI boasts over 10 million installs from the Google Play Store alone.
Now, Krafton looks set to usurp its own re-entry into the Indian market with PUBG New State on the horizon.
So, what does this new release look to achieve, and how will it impact India’s resurgent gaming scene?
PUBG New State Takes Players Into the Future
On September 1, 2021, Krafton announced that it was now accepting pre-registration for its upcoming game, PUBG: New State.
While the studio had very recently welcomed back Indian gamers with BGMI, many wondered if their latest venture would be open in India, but its has been confirmed that the new title will be available across the subcontinent.
What’s unique about the upcoming PUBG: New State is that it isn’t a PUBG sequel, nor will it follow in the footsteps of the original as a PC and mobile release.
New State will be an exclusive mobile game, coming to Android and iOS devices.
The game itself is very futuristic, set 30 years into the future with lots of advanced weapons and sci-fi-like abilities to tap into in the map of Troi.
Naturally, Indian gamers will be wondering why they’d want to jump onto New State when the tailor-made BGMI has already proven to be such a hit.
Well, according to reports, PUBG: New State boasts better, more advanced gameplay, mechanics, and items, as well as graphics that are set to surpass the standards even set by the Ultra-HD setting on PUBG Mobile.
The hype has already seen over 25 million pre-registrations on Google Play, suggesting that fans are preparing to make the jump across.
The pre-registration period is still open for PUBG: New State on Android, and while an official release date is yet to be officially announced, as of September 8, rumors suggest an October 2021 launch.
Future of PUBG New State in India
While PUBG wasn’t available in India, many turned to using a VPN to access the game, as per gamingfreak.in but officially, the community and the competitive gains made took a huge hit.
Still, it’s only been a year, and BGMI certainly helped to get everyone back into the scene.
So, the industry can expect YouTube to continue to be the primary platform for streaming New State content, while the likes of Twitch will certainly try to corral talent to capitalize on the new release.
Ujjwal, Dynamo Gaming, and co have made YouTube the go-to site, and will almost certainly continue to make it India’s favorite for watching gameplay and engaging with the community.
However, streaming isn’t expected to remain in its current state, especially with a tremendous influx of viewership and money that comes with having an engaged Indian audience.
A big development being explored is making streams much more two-way for a more engaging product. This has already been achieved and proven successful in the entertainment sector.
A look at the range of live casino games at Betway, which span roulette, poker, and everything in between, exemplifies how making the stream more interactive can also make the experience more immersive.
Interaction with a professional dealer heightens the gameplay, as the players know that it’s happening in real time and that anything can happen.
As a means of following the example of the entertainment industry, Google’s floundering Stadia platform is still trying to get such a feature going.
On July 23, it finally opened its Crowd Play Beta to YouTube streamers, which intends to allow viewers to jump into the game being streamed to play with the streamer – essentially creating a two-way, more interactive, and immersive stream.
Along with the more entertainment-driven sector of streaming, India’s eSports looks primed to skyrocket with BGMI and then PUBG: Free State.
A Mumbai-based company, has received $9 million in funding to create eSports and live streaming in India, with the money coming from Lumikai and Krafton.
Naturally, the highest-earning eSports players to date have made their money in PUBG, but the additional interest with the PUBG brand returning will only increase earnings across the board.
It’s an exciting time to be a gamer in India, with a new PUBG on the horizon and an expected surge in everything that surrounds the modern scene.
Even better, as gaming grows, the tech will advance and make playing and watching games even more engaging.