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PUBG Mobile Gamers Believe Call of Duty Mobile and Garena Free Fire Can Be Great Alternatives

By: Shouvik Das

News18.com

Last Updated: September 03, 2020, 19:36 IST

PUBG Mobile Gamers Believe Call of Duty Mobile and Garena Free Fire Can Be Great Alternatives

PUBG Mobile in India is the second marquee app to be banned after TikTok, and like the latter, this ban too will impact thousands of people invested in the game.

PUBG Mobile was banned in India alongside 117 other apps in the evening of Wednesday, September 2. Like the Indian government’s ban on TikTok from June 29, the ban on PUBG Mobile has also impacted a massive community of people, who took to gaming professionally owing largely to the game. They include gamers, many of whom are still in educational institutes, who became professionals and started competing in tournaments and featuring in broadcasts of the game on popular streaming platforms. This ban, as gamers describe, has taken away the source through which they have achieved financial success and repute, over the past few years.

Animesh Agarwal, who represented India in the finals of PUBG Mobile Star Challenge, 2018 in Thailand with his team 8bit, tells News18 that the ban “puts to rest the dreams of professional PUBG Mobile players” in India. He says, “PUBG Mobile turned me into ‘8bit Thug’ (Agarwal’s avatar on the game, with which he is popularly known). The journey can’t be described – it has been life changing. I have been living this dream since mid-2018.”

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Agarwal says that it is due to the boom of PUBG Mobile that he found the footing that he has today. “(PUBG) made me a confident person, who is also known and represented across the world. It gave me my identity, to a scale that possibly nothing else could have given me. It (the rise and boom of PUBG Mobile) is something that was never really seen before, and I do not expect it to be repeated in the same scale, either,” he adds. Ever since starting out as a professional PUBG Mobile gamer, Agarwal has gone on to form his own professional e-sports team, under his ‘8bit Thug’ umbrella.

I chose e-sports over studies as my career, but now, I’ll have to go back to my regular studies so that I can find a job. This will sacrifice my e-sports career, which I loved.

Like Agarwal, the ban on PUBG Mobile has deeply affected other professional gamers as well. One such player is Yogesh ‘Roxx’ Yadav, the in-game leader (team leader, of sorts) of PUBG Mobile team GXR Celtz. The latter, who won the PUBG Mobile Premier League – South Asia (Season 1), have been one of the professional teams that have seen fringe or casual gamers make it big on a global scale. Speaking to News18, Yadav says, “Along with me, thousands of other pro PUBG players have worked hard, day and night, to make a living out of e-sports, and the (PUBG Mobile) ban has shattered our dreams. I chose e-sports over studies as my career, but now, I’ll have to go back to my regular studies so that I can find a job. This will sacrifice my e-sports career, which I loved.”

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Yadav, in a short span of time, gained considerable success via PUBG Mobile. He featured as his team’s leading player of the game, and since going professional, Yadav and his team have even received sponsorship and affiliation from UAE-based e-sports organisation, Galaxy Racer. With the India ban now in place, Yadav is staring at a possible undoing of his achievements with the game on a global stage. “I was initially playing for fun, but took it seriously when I realised I can make a living out of it. It also taught me responsibility, since through the game, I started working under an international organisation (Galaxy Racer, the backing brand for his team),” he adds.

Yadav believes that if the ban persists, this is the end of the road for many aspiring gamers in India. However, 8bit’s owner Agarwal has a more optimistic approach to the future of professional gaming and e-sports in India. As he puts it, “It may be the end of PUBG Mobile for the foreseeable future, but not the end of gaming, or even mobile gaming. I definitely believe that games such as Call of Duty Mobile and Garena Free Fire can see higher activity and create a bigger impression in our country, especially since the mood for gaming is set.”

“It should not matter if the game is PUBG Mobile or not,” says Agarwal. As he sums up, the next couple of months will tell us if alternate titles such as Call of Duty Mobile and Garena Free Fire can grow as big as PUBG Mobile succeeded in becoming.

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