Why was PUBG Banned in India?

Picture Courtesy: ThePrint

Indian Government nailed the future of PUBG Mobile in India by invoking a sudden yet expected ban. The news of PUBG ban in India spread like a wildfire among communities. PUBG Mobile is a rather, famous game in India, not just among gamers, but influencers too have tried their luck and succeeded.

PUBG Mobile and several other Chinese originated apps have been under the scanner of the Indian Government on account of accusations of data mining and spying on its users. Thus, Indian government had earlier released a list of banned applications which included TikTok.

Indo-China Relations: PUBG Banned in India

On the cover image of this article, you’ll spot Dr. S. Jaishankar, who’s the Union Minister of External Affairs, in-charge of keeping the diplomatic dialogue with the Chinese counterpart. The MoEA had strongly warned China of actions and consequences in case they didn’t pay heed to the growing tensions between the two nuclear-powered Asian countries.

Close to 750 million people play PUBG Mobile across the globe, where the number is close to 170+ million in India alone. The South Korean game garnered attention soon after it signed a right-use deal with China’s tech giant Tencent to publish a Mobile port of the game.

Representational Image // Al Jazeera

PUBG Mobile has stayed into the crosshairs of the Indian government authorities for quite sometime now. It all started when the Chinese Military breached bilateral border protocols back in the month of May. The Ministry of External Affairs in India did serve notices and communications to the Chinese counterpart on their violation, but it didn’t sought resolution.

As a result, PUBG Mobile came under scanner, but barely escaped when Government banned multiple Chinese apps including TikTok. Prior to this development, Indian Military forces too had issued warnings and called their personnel to uninstall the game from their smart phones citing security reasons.

The controversy got stirred up after Chinese Military put up another adventurism along the Indian state of Ladakh, which shares border in Pangong Tso Lake. The Indian government led a strong diplomatic response to the provocation, which the Chinese government refused to acknowledge. Thus, a few hours ago, the government announced that it was invoking Section 69A of Information & Technology Act to protect the ‘sovereignty and Integrity of India’ and is banning several Chinese applications which included, PUBG.

Ownership of PUBG Mobile

Despite the game being originally developed by BlueHole Corporation of South Korea, the Mobile port of PUBG is developed and published by the Chinese company Tencent Games. Which makes the ownership of the game into the hands of the Chinese organization. Not just this, the game has previously been under scanner multiple times on account of security breaches and tracking the location of its users.

Source: VG247.com

PUBG Mobile might be among India’s fastest growing gaming title, but the government is in no mood to look at the other side when it comes to national security. Not just India, United States too, have on several occasions called out for PUBG Mobile’s tracking of its users ‘unauthorized.’

United States president Donald Trump have earlier put on a strategic ban on Tencent Holdings, which, directly operates PUBG Mobile. Although, no certainty to ban PUBG Mobile was ever made public.

Not the first ban in India

This is not the first time PUBG has been banned in India. Previously, categorical bans were issued by multiple state governments which charged the game for promoting extremely violent activities.

Indian gamers have also been arrested in the past for playing PUBG in several states. The government, then had informed the Hon’ble High Court of India that banning the game was extremely ‘difficult.’ It was on account of horrific incidents being linked to the addictive nature of the game.

Tencent Games even had introduced several regulations to cooperate with the central authorities, including a six-hour cooldown restriction for the gamers.

Other countries which are hovering restrictions on PUBG Mobile

Multiple countries including China themselves (yes!) have banned PUBG Mobile or parts of it. The reasons of the ban could vary depending upon the issues the countries are dealing with somehow the administrations are finding solace in banning the famous mobile game.

Before India, Pakistan resorted to ban the Mobile shooter for promoting violence and being addictive in nature, but later lifted the ban. The list of countries which banned PUBG:

  • India
  • Pakistan
  • China
  • Jordan
  • Iraq
  • Nepal

Most of the countries quickly lifted the ban after PUBG Corporation & Tencent did the necessary adjustments to the game.

Moreover, not many would know that the country where PUBG Mobile was originated, China, had also banned the game due to the nature of violence and graphic in the game. Tencent & BlueHole Corp., later updated the game with new color function for the bloodshed to fit the audience and the administration’s policies.