HomeEditorialsThe Follow Up Dynamics of PUBG Mobile Ban in India

The Follow Up Dynamics of PUBG Mobile Ban in India

PUBG Mobile is banned for two months and many things have happened till date. Where is the story leading and what could be the ending?

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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.

Why PUBG Mobile Was Banned In India?

INDO-CHINA RELATIONS

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.

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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.

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.

Who Owns 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.

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.

Countries That 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.

IMPACT OF PUBG MOBILE BAN IN INDIA:

The entire player base in the country was caught off-guard due to this ban and it halted the rising mobile esports industry in India. PUBG Mobile pros were confused due to this ban and were forced to give up their invitational slots of PUBG Mobile Pro League: South Asia Fall Split.

The PUBG Mobile content creators were instantly having divided stances on this decision. Some demanded for the reversal of this imposition and some conveyed about their changing future plans. Famous names like Scout and Mortal were among the very first to address their fans where both of them urged their viewers to keep calm and announced their future plans in a short stream.

IMPACT OF BAN ON TENCENT HOLDINGS:

Tencent faced a severe impact of this ban as their share value dropped drastically after the ban was announced. According to Reuters, “Shares of Chinese gaming and social media powerhouse Tencent fell more than 2% on Thursday after India banned 118 mobile apps, including the firm’s popular videogame PUBG.

This reportedly led Tencent to lose over $14 billion. The Chinese conglomerate faced a heavy financial backlash due to India’s decision to ban this game.

PUBG CORPORATION’S REACTION TO THIS BAN:

One week after the ban was stated, PUBG Corporation issued a statement where they made some major changes that could be seen as the first step towards lifting this ban. PUBG Corp. severed their ties with Tencent Holdings and assumed complete control over publishing and distribution rights of PUBG Mobile in India.

They also gave assurances that pointed towards localized content and tournaments for the region. This can be compared to Game for Peace; the Chinese variant of PUBG Mobile; or PUBG Mobile Korea, which has its own local variant separated from the global version. This meant that India could get their own separate game with PUBG Corporation as the publishers.

JIO AND PUBG PARTNERSHIP

Soon after PUBG Corporation announced about their plans for India, rumors started flying around and various news surfaced on the internet. The major news came within a week where reports suggested that PUBG Corporation were in talks with Indian telecommunication titan Jio for discussing a potential partnership. The distribution and publishing rights were on the table for this partnership but later, these rumors faded away and no further reports were published talking about the developments of this arrangement.

MOVES BY INDIAN ESPORTS ORGANISATIONS:

Megastars was the first Indian organization to drop their PUBG Mobile and several other teams followed the suit. Other prominent organizations in India are still waiting on their decision about the future of their PUBG Mobile rosters in India. Indian organizations named Stalwart Esports and FutureStation Gaming decided to shift their base from India to other South Asian regions to be able to compete in PMPL: South Asia Fall Split.

“PUBG MOBILE BAN IN INDIA IS GOING TO BE PERMANENT”

A major news was released by InsideSport where their sources had revealed that “MeitY is in no hurry to revoke the ban on PUBG or any other banned Chinese app.” It also stated that this “mere announcement” from PUBG Corporation to severe its ties with Tencent Games in India is not enough for the ban to be revoked. The entire statement read:

THERE IS NO DISCUSSION WITHIN THE MINISTRY OFFICIALS TO REVOKE THE BAN ON ANY OF THE APPS LISTED IN THE BAN LIST. WE WILL STAY AWAY FROM MAKING ANY COMMENT ON ANY SPECIFIC COMPANY OR APP

Ministry Source

PUBG CORP. MERGER WITH KRAFTON

PUBG Corporation recently announced a merger with Krafton Inc. This merger took the entirety of PUBG Corp. under the umbrella of Krafton alongside all the distribution and development operations of the company’s famous battle-royale title PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds. This is not linked to PUBG Mobile ban or unban in India but can change a few things in the future. As mentioned above, PUBG Corp assumed full control over PUBG Mobile IP in India and now as the company itself has merged with Krafton; its parent company; there may be few changes that can take place with the PUBG Mobile publishing rights in India.

TENCENT SHUTS DOWN OPERATIONS IN INDIA:

This was the final nail in the coffin for the PUBG Mobile story in India. Tencent finally shuts down their operations in the country which rendered PUBG Mobile inaccessible in the country. Despite the ban, most of the casual players were still enjoying the game with various third-party stores but with this announcement, PUBG Mobile servers in India have been shut down and hence, the PUBG Mobile chapter in India is entirely closed for now.

Also Read | PUBG & Krafton Merger

CONCLUSION:

This was the entire story of PUBG Mobile ban and its developments in the past two months. It is clear that all this information pointed in various directions and one count not easily predict if PUBG Mobile could come back in the country or not. The last piece of news is a solid lead to predict the future of PUBG Mobile in India.

Tencent has closed its operations in the country and this could lead to only two big possibilities for the future. Either the game can return in India with PUBG Corp (now Krafton) as the publishers or the PUBG Mobile book has been permanently closed for India. The final verdict is right around the corner and players can expect hear an ending to this story very soon.

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