Multiple sources have revealed to AFK Gaming that Indian teams will not be a part of PUBG MOBILE’s global esports circuit for the current season. The decision was revealed in a call held between teams and the game’s esports director, James Yang. Despite being the top market for the title in terms of player base, the game has remained banned in the country since Sept. 1. India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) banned 118 apps along with the game, citing threats to national security and alleging breach of data privacy.
The move will be a big blow for Indian fans and stakeholders. International organizations such as Fnatic, TSM, Nova Esports, and Galaxy Racer will also have to make a call on how to proceed as it’s unlikely that their teams will be a part of any major tournaments this season. Many of these organizations, including several local ones, had set up boot camps and hired new personnel in the run up to the new season. Now with their future in jeopardy, it’s likely that organizations will have to make some hard choices.
While there has been some progress with respect to a possible unbanning of the game, there is nothing to suggest a timeline in which it could happen. PUBG Corp. has already taken over the publishing rights of the game from Tencent in the region and there have been strong reports linking Reliance as an Indian partner for the title. However, there has been little in terms of official communication from either the Indian government or PUBG MOBILE.
The PUBG MOBILE esports circuit for other regions is in full swing with SEA countries already reaching the finals stage. The Pro League for the Americas region has also kicked off and just yesterday, PUBG MOBILE announced Mountain Dew as a sponsor for its esports program. Pro league South Asia was supposed to kick off earlier this month, but has been on hold since the ban came into effect. The majority of the teams playing in the month long tournament were Indian. Teams from Bangladesh and Pakistan are also to be a part of this event, but there has been no information on how the tournament will proceed at this point. All the regional events will roll up to the PUBG MOBILE Global Championship, which is expected to take place in December and features a $2M prize pool.
TEO has reached out to PUBG MOBILE Esports for comment, and will update this story should more information become available.
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