PUBG Corporation will no longer authorise the PUBG Mobile franchise to Tencent Games in India, and will take over all publishing responsibilities in the country, it said in a statement. This comes as PUBG Mobile, and its Lite version were banned in India along with 116 other ‘Chinese’ apps. PUBG Corporation is a subsidiary of Krafton Game Union, a South Korean video game company.
“As the company explores ways to provide its own PUBG experience for India in the near future, it is committed to doing so by sustaining a localized and healthy gameplay environment for its fans,” PUBG Corporation said in a statement. With this, a South Korean company will essentially become responsible for publishing PUBG in India, instead of Shenzhen-based Tencent Games, which can possibly give it a ground to argue that PUBG Mobile is not a ‘Chinese’ app. The app is still present on both Apple and Google’s app stores.
“PUBG Corporation fully understands and respects the measures taken by the government as the privacy and security of player data is a top priority for the company,” the organisation said about PUBG’s ban in India. “It hopes to work hand-in-hand with the Indian government to find a solution that will allow gamers to once again drop into the battlegrounds while being fully compliant with Indian laws and regulations,” it added. Aside from rolling out regular content updates, the company said it was is exploring different ways to engage players in India through various region-based activities, including esports and community events.
On September 2, India had banned 118 ‘Chinese’ apps, including popular gaming app PUBG, for allegedly being engaged in activities which are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”. The IT Ministry said that the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre and Home Ministry have sent an “exhaustive recommendation” for blocking these “malicious apps”. The blocking order was issued under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act. The development had come just days after India and China troops were involved in a fresh face-off at the border.
So far, the government has banned a total of 224 ‘Chinese’ apps. On June 29, the government had banned 59 apps including TikTok, and WeChat, and followed that up by banning 47 more apps in July.
A day after the ban on PUBG and the other apps, the Chinese Embassy in India said that the ban not only harms the “legitimate rights and interests” of Chinese investors, but also harms the interests of Indian consumers and the “investment environment”. It also said that the Chinese government has “always required” companies from the country to abide by international rules. “Suppression, self-seclusion and restrictions cannot benefit one country’s development.
Banning PUBG was brought up in a Parliamentary panel meet
When the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, headed by Congress’ Shashi Tharoor, had met in person on July 14, BJP’s Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma had proposed that PUBG should be banned given its affect on the youth. Other BJP MPs present at the meeting, including Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Tejasvi Surya had voiced their support for the move.