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PUBG officially relaunched on Android, user data transferred from Tencent version

While the new version of the game is reportedly similar to PUBG, it is censored and comes with a disclaimer. 

Battlegrounds Mobile India, the rebranded version of PUBG Mobile from Korean publisher Krafton, has officially launched on Android, the company announced on Facebook. “As of July 2, 2021, thanks to your support, BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA has been officially released,” Krafton said in a post on Friday morning. Along with this, the company posted a Notice of Data Transfer indicating that users will somewhat be able to retain their progress from the previous Tencent-published version of the game.

Tencent is the Chinese internet company that was publishing PUBG Mobile in India when the game got banned following skirmishes along the Indo–Chinese border. “Please note that depending on the device environment, the exposure time of the official version in Play Store may be different,” the company said.

Krafton did not announce the launch date in advance; the company had been under fire just last month because the beta version of the app — which had been launched to some users — was pinging servers apparently located in China. The company said that it would remove these pings ahead of the official launch. Some politicians have also called for the game to be banned again, saying that the change in publisher has not sufficiently cured the problem of Chinese involvement.

Data transfer notice

The data transfer notice includes an exhaustive list of what is and isn’t transferred from the Tencent version of the game. To agree to the data transfer, users need to accept the new app’s terms and conditions, and consent to a carry-forward of their existing data. The data transfer can only be initiated with Facebook or Twitter logins. The notice does not explicitly mention who was the custodian of the prior version’s data. Users’ phone numbers and email linking information have not been transferred, but in-game progress and inventory have largely carried forward.

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The new version of the game is censored, with green flashes replacing blood and a disclaimer showing up before the game that this is a virtual simulation game as opposed to a combat game. IGN India reported that Battlegrounds Mobile India is similar to the version of PUBG that is offered in China.

Timeline of PUBG Mobile/Battlegrounds Mobile India ban

  • August, 2020: Krafton, the Korean company that owns PUBG and develops the game for PC and consoles, meets with Indian embassy officials to discuss the company’s plans in India.
  • September, 2020: The game is banned in India along with other Chinese-developed apps. Soon after, Tencent’s publishing rights for the game are terminated, and Krafton, the Korean company which owns the brand, takes over.
  • November, 2020: Krafton signs a pact with Microsoft to use Azure servers in India for supporting the game. Soon after, the company announces an intent to invest US$100 million in its operations in the country, and that it will launch a renamed version of the game, PUBG Mobile India, with censored visuals. MEITY maintains a silence on the relaunchrefusing to approve or explicitly block the move.
  • May, 2021: After months of inactivity and shelved marketing promotions, Krafton announces yet another renaming drive, calling the game Battlegrounds Mobile India, retaining much of PUBG’s key art and gameplay. No release date is announced. Former MLA and Union Minister of State Ninong Ering asks the government to thwart the relaunch, a demand that is backed by members of both the BJP and the Congress.
  • June, 2021: After a pre-registration drive in May, the game starts rolling out to some users.
  • July, 2021: The game launches for Android users, with an option of transferring user data from the Tencent version for people who had played the banned version of the game.

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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