PUBG Mobile downloads have fallen precipitously since it was banned in India last month. That’s according to new data from Sensor Tower, which shows that the game garnered around 10.7 million downloads globally in September, a 26.7% fall from 14.6 million in August. In fact, the game attained its peak popularity during the coronavirus lockdown, garnering 25 million and 18 million downloads during June and July, respectively.
Even as the number of downloads have declined for PUBG Mobile, observers and industry insiders believe that it is unlikely to significantly affect the game’s revenues. That’s because in spite of the massive user-base, India contributes relatively less to its overall earnings, which are led by China, the US and Japan.
According to Rishi Alwani, co-founder of gaming-focused publication The Mako Reactor, “(The PUBG ban in India) doesn’t have an impact on its revenue but it’s certainly impacting the game’s reach as India was the largest market in terms of downloads. PUBG’s ecosystem enablers, such as tournament organizers and streamers, are the worst hit due to the ban. Over 80% of their revenue has shrunk over the past month”.
PUBG Mobile reportedly earned $221 million in user spending in August 2020, with 59% of the revenues coming from the Chinese version of the game, called ‘Game of Peace’. The US and Japan accounted for 9.5% and 5.2% of the earnings, respectively, with India coming way down the pecking order. That said, the country remains an important market for the game, which is why its developers are looking to distance itself from Tencent and are searching for an Indian partner to reenter the Indian market.