Photo Credit: Krafton/ Battlegrounds Mobile India
PUBG Mobile is back in a new avatar, Battlegrounds Mobile India, in the country as a result of its months-long ban. Though Krafton claims the new game is designed to address concerns over its original version, it's actually not new — it is just what Chinese audiences have had all along. Battlegrounds Mobile India has emerged more like a marginally tweaked version of PUBG Mobile, with just a handful of (unnecessary) differences. And there's no India-specific changes here, with those tricolour posters relegated to the marketing teasers.
This week, host Akhil Arora talks about Battlegrounds Mobile India on Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital with Deputy Video Head Cyrus John, who played Battlegrounds Mobile India, and Deputy News Editor Veer Arjun Singh, one of the most experienced PUBG Mobile players in the team.
Battlegrounds Mobile India is currently available in early access for Android users. Game publisher Krafton claimed just hours after the release of the battle royale title that it crossed the mark of 5 million downloads. But it has not been a smooth initial success for the game.
Weeks ahead of Battlegrounds Mobile India's formal launch, Arunachal Pradesh Member of Legislative Assembly Ninong Ering urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban the game. The government did not publicly respond to Ering.
Shortly after its release, the Indian avatar of PUBG Mobile was found to be sending data to servers outside the country, even in China. That data-sharing issue was, however, fixed when it was reported online. It's funny because the ties to China were allegedly among the concerns that resulted in the ban of the original title in September last year. Traders' body Confederation Of All India Traders (CAIT) has also demanded a ban of the new game citing it was sending user data outside the country.
Gameplay in Battlegrounds Mobile India is essentially as it was with PUBG Mobile. The changes are merely due to porting over the Chinese version. For instance, gore and violence effects have been removed as the Chinese government doesn't allow that in its games. Even traditional red animation of blood has been replaced with green leaves. Yes, leaves.
Krafton has allowed existing PUBG Mobile users to move their original saved game data to Battlegrounds Mobile India. However, it is important to point out that friends with whom you were playing matches on PUBG Mobile are not automatically added when you move to the new game - the friends list has been lost in the changeover.
Further hurting the community side of things is the fact that many PUBG Mobile players have moved to PUBG Mobile alternatives, such as Call of Duty: Mobile and Garena Free Fire, in the months that it was banned. Those aren't likely to easily move to Battlegrounds Mobile India — considering the fact that they've already made their communities on those other games.
Krafton has not yet provided any details about when exactly it would make Battlegrounds Mobile India available out of beta or on iPhone. However, the gaming community does have some information. You can check that out in our discussion.
You can listen to the full Orbital episode on PUBG Mobile's India avatar Battlegrounds Mobile India by hitting the play button on the Spotify player above. You can also follow the Gadgets 360 podcast on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts. Please rate us and leave a review.