PUBG ban boosts rivals’ downloads – Times of India

Chennai: Even as the South Korean makers of popular game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) attempt to reverse India’s ban on it by cutting ties with China’s Tencent, rivals Call of Duty Mobile, Garena Free Fire and Battlelands Royale — all first-person shooting games — are reaping rich rewards. These gaming apps have seen roughly around 9x, 2x and 2x surge in new installs, respectively, since the government banned PUBG on September 2, data sourced by TOI from global app intelligence firm Apptopia showed.
Daily downloads in India for Call of Duty was an average 7,500 in the 10 days prior to PUBG’s ban, but new installs during September 3-7 averaged 67,000. There were over 3.3 lakh new installs of Call of Duty in India in the five-day period. The surge in traction also reflected in the usage of the app. The games’s daily active users (DAUs) ballooned by almost 50%, peaking at 4.8 lakh on September 7, compared to average DAUs of 2 lakh prior to the PUBG ban.
Another action game Free Fire had average daily downloads of about 80,000 before the ban. But in the five days after the curbs, daily installs from India stood at 1.6 lakh on average. Free Fire had around 8 lakh installs during the period. The DAUs of Free Fire increased by roughly 5% after PUBG’s exit and stood at a high of 45.5 lakh on September 7. Battlelands Royale, a more casual shooting game, saw a 41% rise in its active user base from India. Call of Duty Mobile is from the house of American games publisher Activision that recently cut distribution ties with Tencent’s TiMi Studios. Free Fire is a survival shooter game developed by Singapore-based developer Garena (parent company is Sea) and Battlelands Royale was developed in Finland. These online multiplayer survival games have last-man standing strategy as a key theme.
Free Fire, Call of Duty, Hunter Assassin and India’s own Ludo King consistently found a place among the top five games on Google’s Play Store charts during the five-day period. Fortnite, another PUBG rival, was removed from app stores on August 13 and hence is not accessible by gamers.
India banned 118 apps of Chinese origin, including PUBG, on September 2. The South Korean makers of the app, PUBG Corporation, subsequently announced that they are in talks with Indian authorities and are cutting distribution ties with Chinese company Tencent in India.

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