PUBG Mobile May Remain Banned in India Despite Tencent Licence Withdrawal

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India is unlikely to revoke a ban on the mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) following PUBG Corp’s decision to withdraw the mobile game’s publishing rights in the country from China’s Tencent, a senior government official said on Friday.

PUBG Mobile, a popular online multiplayer battle game, was among 118 Chinese-origin apps banned by New Delhi earlier this month.


That led PUBG Corp, the unit of the South Korean firm behind the game, to announce it would no longer give Tencent Games the rights to publish the game in India. It also said it was exploring ways to provide gaming experiences to Indian users in future.

The new ownership structure is, however, unlikely to change things immediately, said the source, declining to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

“The violent nature of the game has been the cause of many complaints from all quarters,” the source said. “That does not change with the change in ownership rights.”


A spokeswoman for PUBG Corp in South Korea said the company was closely reviewing India’s concerns and that it was ready to work on anything that needed improvement.

The company has also been in talks with Jio Platforms, the digital unit of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, to bring the game back in its biggest market by users.

“We had initial talks with Jio Platforms to seek for cooperation opportunities, but nothing has been decided yet,” the PUBG spokeswoman told Reuters.

Reliance did not respond to a request for comment.

While officially New Delhi says it has banned the apps because they collect user data and pose a threat to national security, the move is widely seen as a way to pressure Chinese tech companies following a months-long standoff between India and China along a disputed Himalayan border.

© Thomson Reuters 2020


Should the government explain why Chinese apps were banned? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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