New Delhi: Two days after the government announced a decision to ban PUBG MOBILE, a wildly popular online multiplayer shooting game, along with more than 100 Chinese apps amid renewed tension at the border, a home-grown competitor called FAU-G was unveiled by Bollywood star Akshay Kumar.
Being published by Bengaluru-based nCore Games which counts Indian gaming industry Vishal Gondal as an investor, short for Fearless and United-Guards and pledged to donate 20 percent of its revenue to the government’s fund for paramilitary forces called Bharat Key Veer that was created after the 2019 Pulwama terror attack.
Kumar also described that the project plays well with the government's push for self-reliance and indigenous enterprises launched in the wake of the coronavirus crisis dubbed "Atmanirbhar Bharat".
Many on social media noted the timing of the announcement, which came in the wake of the government's ban on PUBG MOBILE, developed by Chinese social media and gaming group Tencent, which is among the top five smartphone games in the world with more than 700 million downloads.
"This game has been in the works for a few months ... In fact, the first level of the game is based on Galway Valley," Mr. Gondal told news agency Reuters, referring to the bloody clash that occurred in Ladakh in June in which 20 Indian soldiers died. The Chinese also suffered an unknown number of casualties, adding that the FAU-G will launch in late October.
Akshay Kumar also helped with the game's concept, according to Gondal. “It came with the title of the game FAU-G (which is a Hindi game for the soldier, 'fauji'), Gondal said, adding that he hopes to gain 200 million users in a year.
While existing users can still play PUBG on their device, it has disappeared from most mobile markets. There are reportedly almost 50 million active PUBG players in India and hours of play at around 13 million daily users.
In response to the ban caused by the new Chinese provocation in Ladakh, which was presented in the interests of India's sovereignty, integrity, defense, and security, Tencent said on Thursday that it takes the protection of privacy and data very seriously of the user. The company said that it will be in contact with the Indian authorities to ensure the continued availability of its applications in India.
According to the Ministry of Information Technology, PUBG MOBILE and the other 117 applications "are involved in activities that affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the defense of India, state security and public order." The ban came on the heels of a similar app across 59 mobile apps, including Bytedance's TikTok, Alibaba's UC Browser, and Tencent's WeChat in June.
PUBG or PlayerUnknown's BattleGrounds features a Hunger Games-style competition, where 100 players face off with automatic weapons until only one is left. Tencent introduced a simplified mobile version, which has improved the game, especially at the time of the coronavirus lockdown.
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