23/02/2024

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Battlegrounds Mobile India Ban Called for By Politicians

Battlegrounds Mobile India doesn’t have a release date yet and Indian politicians are already calling for it to be banned. Former Union Minister and current Arunachal Pradesh MLA Ninong Ering wrote to Prime Minister Modi to request a ban on what he terms as “the relaunch of PUBG Mobile”.

In the letter, Ering states that most of Krafton’s India employees are from Tencent, that Battlegrounds Mobile India’s Google Play Store package name contains the term ‘PUBG Mobile’, and cites its $22.4 million investment in Nodwin as a security concern. You can check out his letter for yourself right here.

This follows current Member of Parliament Abhishek Singhvi alleging that Battlegrounds Mobile India’s release allows for China’s Tencent to re-enter the country.

Before all of this, IGN India reached out to Krafton when Battlegrounds Mobile India was first revealed with a slew of questions. It’s been two weeks since the game’s announcement and we’re yet to get a response. Our questions were as follows:

  • Is the game being built from scratch at Krafton in South Korea?
  • Why would Krafton not reuse years of work done on PUBG Mobile?
  • Is it true Nodwin would be running the game’s servers in India?
  • Was Krafton’s investment in Nodwin and donation to PM Cares done to bring the game back?
  • Is Tencent still Krafton’s second-biggest investor and still making the game for global and Chinese markets? How does Krafton guarantee the India build isn’t based on the same source code used by Tencent?
  • Why is Krafton afraid to mention PUBG Mobile in its press release?

Does Krafton Really Need Indian Government Approval for Battlegrounds Mobile India Launch?

Contrary to popular belief: no. Reason being: the two ministries involved in banning PUBG Mobile — Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Electronics and IT do not approve apps before release, instead they would ban apps if they do not comply with local rules and regulations. India doesn’t have its own ratings board for games and if it did, it wouldn’t fall under those two ministries.

Rather, approval of apps falls to Apple and Google, both of which follow international ratings boards as well as best practices for the country (which is why gambling apps aren’t treated as gaming by either of them — much to the chagrin of some companies).

IGN India reached out to Apple and Google for comment regarding the approval of Battlegrounds Mobile India and will update this story if we hear from either company.

Will Battlegrounds Mobile India Be Banned?

That said, sources familiar with the situation tell IGN India that there won’t be any problem with Battlegrounds Mobile India so as long as Krafton follows the rules set forth in terms of data and privacy — even if does include some features exclusive to the Chinese version of the game. Hopefully this remains the case what with a possible launch in the third week of June.


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