With the ban on the popular online multiplayer game PUBG taking effect and the teaser for the homegrown FAU-G being released, is the wait for Indian gamers finally over or has it just begun?
After getting users hooked to its simple gameplay, great graphics and the guarantee of a nail-biting finish, PUBG, the online multiplayer game on 30 October terminated all services and access for Indian users. The step was taken in view of the September order of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology banning 118 Chinese apps, including those from the inventory of Baidu, Tencent and Xiaomi.
The immense success enjoyed by PUBG is owed to its FPS (first-person shooter) format with regular updates, new maps and the opportunity to play with friends is something that other online gaming apps have in the past tried to emulate, though with limited success.
Thus, barely two days after the September order banning the app, nCore (Bangalore-based mobile games and interactive entertainment company) announced FAU-G, a multiplayer mobile game to be released in November. On Dussehra, FAU-G released a teaser of the game.
The teaser showed glimpses of the first episode of the game based on the Galwan Valley incident. Though the one-minute teaser did not give away much about the game in terms of the weapons and the gameplay, the gaming and meme community on social media had a field day. Reactions were mixed as some looked forward to the launch of the new game while others pointed out the similarities of between PUBG and FAU-G.
“As someone who used to spend four to five hours a day on gaming, playing PUBG to be precise, was not exactly a productive activity, I feel but it did provide an exciting getaway,” says Kabeer Ahmed, a businessman based in Lucknow. “ I don’t really understand how banning an app is going to help with national security, as was stated by the government when banning PUBG, but I will say that FAU-G is not a game I look forward to. The graphics look decent, to say the least, and I am not sure how the gameplay is going to be any better than what it was on PUBG”.
While FAU-G is yet to be released, with the ban on PUBG, gamers are quickly shifting to other online multiplayer games. Some of the gamers we talked to said that with the IPL season hitting fever pitch, many of them have shifted to Dream11, a fantasy sports platform that allows users to play fantasy cricket, hockey, kabaddi and basketball. Other not so obsessive gamers look forward to trying out the new game.
Talking about online multiplayer gaming, Avantika Chopra says, “After watching the trailer of the game, I wasn’t too impressed with the graphics, and I am pretty sure that the game is not going to be as good as PUBG, but still, I am looking forward to the launch of the game so I can give it a go”.
Considering that around the time FAU-G was announced, the company clarified that the game was always in the pipeline and was not a knee-jerk reaction after the ban on PUBG or the call for homegrown apps under the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign, the success of PUBG will difficult to emulate.
With the ban on PUBG taking effect, another outcome was seen in the increasing number of downloads enjoyed by alternate FPS games like Call of Duty and Garena Free Fire. The 33 million active users of PUBG post the shutting of servers in India, then, will be looking at viable alternatives. In such a scenario whether the homegrown game FAU-G will be able to draw users to itself — after the initial hype riding the wave of nationalism and it being based in India on the Indian army dies down — is something that we will have to wait to see.