It’s been a year since PUBG Mobile graced Android and iOS devices. The game first released in China on February 9 before hitting the rest of the world a month later and is an adaptation of the popular PC game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. PUBG is short for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds named after game designer Brendan ‘PlayerUnknown’ Greene who developed PUBG on PC with Korea’s PUBG Corp. It was inspired by the 2000 Japanese movie, Battle Royale. While the game is on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, it’s PUBG Mobile version that’s taken the world by storm. Here’s a brief history of what happened in just a single year.
PUBG Mobile launched in China
February 9, 2018: PUBG Corp partners with Tencent to launch PUBG Mobile. Two versions of PUBG on mobile were released in China on February 9. PUBG: Army Attack was developed by Tencent’s Timi Studio. It has naval battles (something the PC games does not have) and sports a more arcade-styled aesthetic and feel. The other is PUBG: Exhilarating Battlefield developed by Lightspeed and Quantum Studios, another Tencent entity which mirrors the gameplay and look of the PC game closely. Both were made on the Unreal Engine and PUBG: Exhilarating Battlefield was released outside of China as PUBG Mobile while PUBG: Army Attack hasn’t seen an international release.
PUBG Mobiles comes to India and other countries
March 20, 2018: PUBG Mobile for Android and iOS released internationally on this day. This followed a rather short softlaunch period in Canada and probably had something to do with Fortnite’s ascendance on iOS at the time, raking up a million dollars in its first 72 hours. It launched with a single map — Erangel, in-game voice chat, and what Tencent claimed was a “powerful anti-cheating mechanisms.”
PUBG Mobile gets its own emulator
May 9,2018: Tencent announced that PUBG Mobile can be played on PC with its own emulator, Gaming Buddy. This gave those who play the game on Android and iOS to breath a sigh of relief what with reports of PC players with keyboards and mice ruining the game. In addition to this, those playing PUBG Mobile on PC via emulation would be matched only with others playing on PC via emulation and not those playing on mobile in order to level the playing field.
PUBG Mobile Miramar map added
May 15, 2018: The PUBG Mobile 0.5.0 update added Miramar, a new desert map. It finally put the game on par with its PC and Xbox One counterparts, ensuring that those playing on smaller screens weren’t left out in terms of content. While Miramar and the smaller Sanhok map were added months after its debut on PC and Xbox One, Vikendi released on PUBG Mobile before it did on PUBG PS4 and Xbox One.
May 18, 2018: Tencent announced that PUBG Mobile has 10 million daily active users outside of China.
PUBG Mobile Royale Pass added
June 19, 2018: The PUBG Mobile Royale Pass makes its debut with the 0.6.0 update.With the Royale Pass players can complete daily and weekly missions to earn additional crates and if you can’t commit that much time to PUBG, you can pay to unlock rewards directly. It was seen as a direct response to Fortnite’s popular Battle Pass.
August 2, 2018: PUBG Mobile partners with Mission: Impossible – Fallout for themed content in the movie to be present in the game. These included new PUBG Mobile skins, parachutes, and even different in-game music. This paved the way for future collaborations with BAPE and Resident Evil 2.
PUBG Mobile Lite launched
August 10, 2018: Tencent revealed PUBG Mobile Lite, a version of the game geared towards budget Android handsets with a soft launch in the Philippines. It sports 40-player matches instead of 100 and has smaller 2x2km maps. So far, there’s been no word of a PUBG Mobile Lite India release date. No surprise given how well-optimised it is.
August 17, 2018: PUBG Mobile downloads cross 100 million outside of China with 14 million daily active users in less than four months (excluding China, Japan, and Korea).
September 7, 2018: Tencent announced India’s first official PUBG Mobile tournament called the PUBG Mobile Campus Championship 2018. Tencent partnered Oppo to discover India’s best PUBG Mobile players. Aside from bragging rights, the PUBG Mobile Campus Championship 2018 prize pool was Rs. 50 lacs. The winner was Mumbai-based clan, Terrifying Nightmares. In an interview with Gadgets 360, the team let on that it was Fortnite’s PS4 controls that made them make the switch to PUBG Mobile.
PUBG Mobile hits 20 million daily active users
September 13, 2018: Tencent announced that PUBG Mobile has 20 million daily active users in just six months. This does not include Japan, Korea, and China. During PUBG Mobile Season 2, more than 130 million players from over 200 countries earned themselves 864,425,575 chicken dinners.
November 6, 2018: In order to combat growing game addiction, Tencent expanded underage ID checks to all its games in China including PUBG Mobile. This followed a state announcement for the publishing regulator to control the number of new online video games and to limit the amount of time young Chinese spend playing such games. Children aged 12 and under are allowed one hour a day on the game except for a curfew period of 9pm to 8am. Minors older than 12 can play for two hours a day.
November 29 to December 1, 2018: The PUBG Mobile Star Challenge Global Finals was announced. Top 20 teams from Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Japan, Korea, and China were contention for a $400,000 prize pool. India was represented by Terrifying Nightmares which finished 18th and the eventual winner was Thailand’s RRQ Athena.
December 3, 2018: At the PUBG Mobile Global Finals, Tencent teased an upcoming collaboration with Resident Evil which brought zombie mode to the game.
PUBG Mobile hits 30 million daily active users
December 19, 2018: PUBG Mobile now has 30 million daily active users and has hit 200 million downloads, Tencent said in a statement. This number, like previous announcements from the company, excludes China. While Fortnite and PUBG Mobile remain very popular, it is worth noting that PUBG Mobile has exceeded Fortnite’s revenue on iOS recently, according to data from Sensor Tower.
PUBG Mobile Vikendi map released
December 20, 2018: The PUBG Mobile Vikendi snow map released for Android and iOS players before it did for PUBG on PS4 and Xbox One. It brought diverse environments into the game such as a cosmodrome, castle, and even a dino park along with new vehicles like the snow mobile.
PUBG Mobile ‘ban’ saga
December 22, 2018: A PUBG Mobile ban legal notice from ‘High Court of Maharashtra’ was doing the rounds though a cursory check confirmed it was fake news. It’s unclear where this hoax originated from although it has been shared on Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps its a nod to the game’s popularity in the country — or a sign of things to come.
January 17, 2019: The Jammu and Kashmir Students Association asked the Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Naik to ban PUBG Mobile immediately. The association claims that PUBG Mobile game is extremely addictive and has resulted in poor results for the students in the recent class X and XII board exams. In fact, it went as far as to liken PUBG Mobile to drugs.
“The game should have been banned immediately after the poor performance of 12th and 10th class results but still we haven’t seen any action,” said Deputy Chairman Raqif Makhdoomi. “The addiction to this game has become more concerning than addiction to drugs as we get to see youngsters 24 hours on the mobile phones and playing the game and doing nothing. We request the governor administration to immediately ban the game.”
Jammu and Kashmir Students Association Chairman Abrar Ahmad Bhat termed PUBG Mobile as a “future spoiler”, the report claims, strongly appealing for a ban as soon as possible.
January 25, 2019: PUBG Mobile was “banned” in primary schools in Gujarat citing its “adverse effect on studies” after a recommendation by the Gujarat State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
January 29, 2019: Prime Minister Modi weighed in on PUBG Mobile addiction during his interaction with students and parents at his Pariksha Par Charcha 2.0 event in Delhi. A mother complained to PM Modi that her son was addicted to online games and neglecting his studies. PM Modi replied: “PUBG-wala hai kya? (Does he play PUBG?),” leaving the audience in splits. He then pondered if he was a Fortnite player. And while the humour was appreciated, PM Modi proceeded to give his serious thoughts on PUBG Mobile addiction as well as technology in general, advocating the use of technology to expand horizons. PM Modi said he believes if parents reached out to their children, they would move from “PlayStation to the playground”.
February 2, 2019: An eleven-year-old boy moved the Bombay High Court seeking a ban on PUBG Mobile. Ahad Nizam, who filed the public interest litigation through his mother, said the game promotes violence, aggression and cyber-bullying. The court should direct the Maharashtra government to ban it, the PIL said.
February 4, 2019: In what could be one of the first instances of PUBG Mobile-related deaths in the country, an 18-year-old youth allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself after he had an argument with his family members over buying a new smartphone for playing PUBG Mobile. A case of accidental death has been registered by the police and further investigation in the matter is underway.
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