Is Reliance Jio really trying to bring PUBG back to India?

PUBG Mobile Season 15
(Image credit: PUBG)

This is the season of Reliance Industries and its brand Jio in India as they have been getting a slew of high-profile investments. The situation today is such that media, almost reflexively, speculates a Jio angle in  every technology and business development.

When TikTok was banned, there were a flurry of reports on Jio Platforms seeking to acquire Tiktok's India operations. Of course, nothing of that sort has eventualized.

And now when PUBG Mobile is banned, the same kind of stories are doing the rounds.

There have a been a glut of reports in the last one week (here, here and here), and all are breathlessly claiming that PUBG will sneak back into Indian market riding on the shoulders of Reliance Jio.

What the news reports say on Jio and PUBG Mobile

India banned PUBG Mobile along with 117 other Chinese apps recently as they are "engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of state and public order."

Soon enough, PUBG Corporation, a South Korean company that owns the game on all platforms, formally broke of its links with the Chinese company Tencent, which holds a minority stake in it.

In the backdrop of this, it is also said that PUBG Corporation has initiated talks with Jio Platforms for distribution of the game in India. PUBG, it is said, is planning to replace Tencent with Jio Platforms in India as a local partner.

How credible are these claims?

Quite evidently, both Reliance Group and PUBG Corporation have not commented anything on the claimed developments. But it would be too much to expect them to say anything formally in such a fluid situation.

But Jio Platforms and PUBG had a tie-up previously. It was a simple deal that allowed Jio users who register for PUBG Lite get rewards for buying their in-game merchandise.

Media reports have it that both the companies now want to build up on this connection.

But some industry analysts say that PUBG Corporation and Jio tie-up was a small platform-level business offer. Not really a company level association. So it is too much to read anything big into it.

Jio's gaming gambit

However, it is a fact that Reliance is keen to get into the gaming space in a big way. Not long back, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani had predicted astronomical growth for gaming industry in India. "Gaming will be bigger than music, movies and television shows put together,” he had said.

Even though PUBG-Jio deal seems a rumour, it cannot be exactly ruled out, as stranger things have happened is what what one market analyst said.

And PUBG, for which Indian market is pivotal --- it had 175 million installations from India alone --- is desperate to get back into India. 

Jio, with its ecosystem that involves governmental backing, may just be what the doctor ordered solution for PUBG's problems in India.

Watch this space for more.

Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.