South Korean company PUBG has initiated talks with Jio Platforms for distribution of its highly popular game in India. PUBG was banned by the Government because it was being distributed in India by Chinese firm Tencent. PUBG has since broken ties with Tencent in India, and is looking for a local partner.
According to various sources in the know, after cancelling its licence with Tencent, PUBG is looking at the Indian market with a long-term view. “The talks are in an early stage, which began just after the government’s second round of bans. Officials from both the sides are working out the contours of how to structure various aspects of the deal,” according to a source.
India had banned 118 Chinese apps following the border face-off with China.
PUBG had entered into a partnership with Jio last year, wherein Jio users who register for PUBG Lite get rewards for buying their in-game merchandise. Discussions are now on to make this a full-fledged partnership.
Another source added that matters pertaining to revenue share as well as localisation are being discussed. “Legal experts from both sides are exploring possibilities on how revenues should be split, whether it would be 50:50 or Jio guaranteeing PUBG revenues based on a fixed number of users every month,” sources added. Localisation was one of the conditions mandated by Delhi in the recent ban.
When contacted PUBG said it did not have any specific information on the matter. Recently, PUBG stated that it will take on all publishing responsibilities within the country. An RIL spokesperson did not wish to comment.
According to a report from Sensor Tower, PUBG has more than 175 million installations from India alone which accounts for a quarter of its installations worldwide. Since its release in 2017, it has seen a total of 734 million installations from around the world .
Industry watchers are of the view that in India, Jio has almost all the services when it comes to being a game publisher. It has game developers and the necessary deep pockets, which are needed in game development, said an industry watcher. Also, game development is an ecosystem which includes bringing together everyone in the system — programmers, artists, musicians, designers and producers.
PUBG is also looking at a partner which can help the company navigate through shifting regulations and understanding the nuances of a billion people. The gaming industry in India is estimated to be ₹6,200 crore and is expected to grow four-fold to ₹25,000 crore by 2022. The number of people playing online games is set to cross 300 million.