Bangladesh High Court Issues Order to Ban PUBG Mobile, Free Fire
Earlier this month, we reported on the High Court of Bangladesh petitioning the government to ban games like PUBG Mobile and Free Fire. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has deemed these games dangerous to Bangladesh youth. That same commission has taken the initiative on a court order to compile a list of games and apps deemed inappropriate for distribution in Bangladesh.
Bad News for Bangladesh Gamers
According to an article published in The Dhaka Tribune, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has begun banning “harmful” games such as PUBG Mobile and Free Fire.
Subrata Roy Maitra, BTRC vice-chairman, stated that the commission “already asked the Department of Telecommunications to take action to block PUBG and Free Fire,” but that obstacles are to be expected as the commission “may not be able to ban all of them due to technical shortcomings. In that case, we will write to the concerned authorities and consult or outsource the task to those who can.”
To recap on our report, on August 16, the High Court of Bangladesh sent a direction to the government, asking proper authorities to ban PUBG, Free Fire, TikTok, and other apps and games deemed harmful to youth in Bangladesh. The High Court also issued a ruling asking for authorities to explain within 10 days why these apps and games were not yet banned.
Due to a lack of governmental response, the BTRC has moved ahead in getting Free Fire and PUBG banned, which could have grievous consequences for Garena (Free Fire’s publisher) and Krafton (PUBG Mobile’s publisher).
Loss of a Region
Free Fire’s Bangladesh server pre-registration page has a little bar on the bottom. At three million registrants, all players would get a bandana. At eight million pre-registrants, all players would get a cool-looking, ‘80s-inspired keytar weapon. The bar is full, by the way.
Free Fire getting banned in Bangladesh is a possible loss of over eight million users. It’s uncertain how much revenue Bangladesh generates for Garena, but a loss of eight million users/subscribers could raise eyebrows at stockholder meetings.
For PUBG Mobile, the region is considered part of the South Asian region, which competes in their regional splits leading to global competition. The number of downloads of PUBG Mobile in Bangladesh can’t be ascertained exactly, but according to a report in The Dhaka Times, over four million views are shared between PUBG Mobile and Free Fire events at a time.
Both games serve as revenue streams for pros and content creators dedicated to either title, with pro players taking home between 50,000 to 70,000 Bangladeshi Taka a month (approx. between $586 to $820 a month). Banning either game could prove disastrous to the personal income of several competitors and content creators in either space.
If PUBG Mobile and Free Fire are banned, it’s possible that solutions can be found should Garena and Krafton cooperate with the Bangladeshi government and invested parties. PUBG Mobile was banned in India, but Krafton came back with a new title that became Mobile Battlegrounds India, which complied with the demands of the Indian government. Krafton and Garena may employ a similar approach should Bangladesh ban either of their games, but we won’t know until the ban comes into effect.
Regardless, the call to ban both Free Fire and PUBG Mobile in Bangladesh will disrupt the lives of content creators, pros, and organizations that make a living off these titles. It’s an interesting situation that shows the interaction between video games and government and serves as evidence for improved social infrastructure for esports titles worldwide.
Should more developments occur, we’ll be sure to let you know.