by Rohan Johnson
3rd September 2020
To the dismay of millions of mobile gamers, the biggest multiplayer sensation in the last few years for the mobile gaming sector - PUBG Mobile - has been included in the list of banned apps in India on the pretext of escalating tensions between India and China, particularly due to recent Chinese provocation in the South Bank of Ladakh’s Pangong Lake. In a press release, the government explained that the game invokes serious security and data privacy concerns as its servers are based out of China.
The government also claims that the ban “will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users” and the decision will ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.
PUBG Mobile, made by Tencent even though the original PC version is by Blue Hole Studios, A South Korea based video game studio, boasts of more than 734 million downloads worldwide with the game featuring in the top 5 mobile games in the world. It also boasts of over 13 million daily users from India along. The game features a “Hunger games” style of Battle Royale system where 100 players face each other off with weapons until there is just one person or one team left standing alive. Tencent took the job of making a stripped down version of the Original PC game by Bluehole
Studios, turning it into a version playable on mobile, with its users going up really fast during the COVID 19 Lockdown. In order to explain this latest movie, the ministry has said that they did this in order to keep up with the huge amount of complaints they received about the misuse of some particular mobile apps on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and transmitting the stolen data to servers located outside India.
In June, the government banned 59 mobile apps including Bytedance's TikTok - which counted India as its biggest international market - Alibaba's UC Browser and Tencent's WeChat, also citing security concerns.
People who have already installed PUBG will continue to have the app on their phones, but telecom companies like Jio and Airtel will block PUBG connection to servers after they receive notice from the government, making it impossible to use. Until the Chinese aggression on the border is not resolved, India is unlikely to allow the use of banned Chinese apps in the country anytime soon.
The last ban wave of Chinese apps now takes the total toll of banned Chinese apps in India to 224, with more or less every major Chinese player with a good presence on the international market being taken off the Indian cyberspace.
Sources: Indian express, India Today, news18
Edited by Hrishit Roy