By now most of you must have heard about this unfortunate development, that PUBG Mobile has been banned in India. After a month of rumors surrounding its ban due to privacy concerns the Indian government has finally announced a ban on 118 Chinese apps including PUBG Mobile.
According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, “PUBG Mobile has been banned under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, on grounds that they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”
PUBG Mobile is developed by PUBG corporation(formerly Bluehole) which is based in South Korea but unlike its PC counterpart it is published by Tencent Games.
Tencent is a Chinese tech conglomerate which has a 10% stake in PUBG Corporation and is also suspected of sharing user data with the Chinese government. The reason for this ban is seemingly due to the risk of Indian user data being used by the Chinese government through companies such as Tencent.
It is ironic that the game itself was about to be banned in China back in 2017 due to its violent and graphic nature. However, an alternative version was released under the name “Fight for peace” which was state approved.
Compared to users in other countries whose data is still being stored in Chinese servers, Indian users still had the extra layer of protection in terms of third parties accessing user info. All of this was done to protect the game from getting banned in India but that was all for nothing.
Players are now looking towards alternative games such as COD Mobile, Free Fire, and Fortnite to fill up that void left by PUBG. The clear outlier here is definitely COD Mobile. However, it seems that too is published by Tencent.
EFFECT ON GAMING IN INDIA
The game has had a huge impact in India in a sense that it became a cultural phenomenon. PUBG had more than 175 million game installation in India with around 25% of all of the game’s global player-base coming from here. It not only popularized gaming in India but also provided benefit to many industries, especially entertainment and mobile industry.
POSSIBILITY OF AN UN-BAN
Previously, Pakistan too placed a similar ban on PUBG Mobile which was later lifted on July 26. After a public outcry on the internet, the country’s government officials had a meeting with game representatives in which they decided to reverse that order. According to Pakistan government officials, the reason for the ban was due to long term psychological effects.
A similar situation is possible in the case of India but the quickest solution would be for Tencent to cut ties with the game completely. However, that too seems unlikely considering how the game is a cash cow for the company.
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