PUBG mobile – E-Sports fans were in for a scare as the Indian government decided to ban 59-Chinese apps citing privacy issues, with many wondering if the famous Battle Royale game, PUBG Mobile — developed by Chinese firm Tencent Holdings — would also come in the line of fire. Much to the relief of those gamers, the game wasn’t in the list issued by the government on Monday. This gave PUBG lovers the opportunity to troll TikTok fans and soon after a hilarious meme game started on social media.
While PUBG successfully managed to evade the government’s 59-app list, there are other apps like TikTok and UC Browser which are no longer active in India. The Indian government took the decision to ban these apps as they were ‘red-flagged by the Indian intelligence agencies’.
“The compilation of those data, it’s mining, and also profiling by the elements hostile to national security as well as the defense of India, that ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures as well,” the statement issued by the ministry read. A reason behind PUBG not making the list of banned apps is that it isn’t entirely Chinese. The game has been created and managed by Bluehole which is a South Korean organization. After PUBG became popular, Tencent – a Chinese conglomerate – joined hands with Bluehole to market the product in China and has since started handling a large portion of its distribution. In India, the game is distributed in India by Tencent Holdings.
PUBG mobile – While it can’t be denied that the game has Chinese links, it’s mixed-ownership seems to have prevented it from joining the list of banned apps.
This relief, however, is not wholly unmixed as there remains the prospect of the ban being expanded to cover more apps in a possible next round. A lot of questions are being raised in various online forums as to why PUBG escaped the government’s wrath while TikTok could not. Here we try to find out the possible reasons. The online battle royale game was developed by an arm of South Korean video game maker Bluehole — the now-famous PUBG Corp. It was only after the game swept the world off its feet that Chinese giant Tencent Holdings came into the picture as its distributor.
After the product conquered the Chinese market in no time, Tencent brought it to India. And the rest is history. But despite an undeniable Chinese footprint in PUBG’s marketing, the product still retains its mixed-owner character. According to some insiders, its Korean origin is what may have saved PUBG in Round 1 of Modi govt’s China purge.
It could mean that China making investments in, PUBG mobile or manufacturing, a product is probably not be regarded as a basis for banning by India.
Will Round 2 be different? There is no certainty yet. For now, life goes on as usual for PUBG’s India legion.
No imminent danger?
“Red flags from the intel” was the logic the government gave when it announced the decision.
The ban was put in place under Section 69A of the IT Act read with relevant provisions of the IT (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009.
The reasoning given by the govt was that these 59 apps are “engaged in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state and public order.” The order also talked of plaints about data on Indian users being transferred abroad without authorization. Insiders believe that PUBG also must have been put through the security scanner by the sleuths, but that it must have passed the test for the time being. Some also say that data theft is the one and only basis for the ban, and that is why the notification was from the IT ministry, and not from the ministry of trade.