The Real Reason India Banned Battlegrounds Mobile India
This is a single insight from This Week in Apps #124 - Was that a Mistake?. Check out the full article for more insights.
Earlier in the week, the government of India forced Apple and Google to remove Battlegrounds Mobile India from their stores. Why would India want to remove an app that has "India" in its name? and what's Battlegrounds Mobile?
A few years ago, the government of India banned the massively popular battle royale game PUBG in the country. That ban was a part of a political move India was making at neighbor China. Tencent, a Chinese company, was involved with Krafton, the developer, and India didn't like that.
So Krafton created a local version of PUBG for India and named it Battlegrounds Mobile. It launched about a year ago and was doing pretty alright.
So, why would India ban a game made for India? There was no clear answer from the government, but the data might offer a clue.
And by data, I mean revenue estimates.
It's easy to attribute this ban to politics. The diplomatic relations between India and China are not great. But keep in mind, Battlegrounds Mobile is no longer affiliated with China in any way. Krafton is a Korean company. So that's only a loose reason.
The other possible reason is that the game does something the government doesn't like. But... considering the game was designed for India, I find that to be a loose reason at best.
So what's left? Money. India wants its money to stay within the country, and Battlegrounds Mobile is not an Indian company. Oh, and it's making a lot of money!
Enough to make it the #2 top grossing app in India
Battlegrounds Mobile's weekly revenue nearly doubled in the last few months. According to our estimates, revenue has been on the rise since the beginning of the year. In 2021, when the game launched, Krafton was earning around $150 thousand per week, and this is net revenue, which means the portion of the revenue they get to keep after store fees.
It had a slight peak in December, as to be expected, but it really started growing in 2022.
Over the last few weeks, weekly revenue hasn't dropped below $300 thousand.
We estimate the game has earned around $13 million in net revenue since being launched last year, and the trend continued to go up before it was pulled.
Something I'm trying to figure out is whether the government is really just hating on Krafton right now, or will more games see the same destiny in India? I'll let you know when I have an answer.
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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.