The PUBG Corporation says it plans to launch a new PUBG Mobile game in India, after being banned in the country in September due to the mobile app’s links to China’s Tencent. At the time of its ban, the game was India’s top downloaded title, with some 50 million users.
The South Korean developer said it would create a new Indian subsidiary to oversee the title, and that the game would “maximize data security and cater to local preferences.” The company also pledged to invest $100 million in the Indian “gaming, esports, entertainment, and IT industries,” though it offered no date for when the game might actually launch.
India banned a number of apps with links to China due to security concerns
The news, reported by TechCrunch, NDTV, and others, is significant for India’s digital ecosystem, suggesting a possible way back for apps and game banned from the country due to security concerns. Along with PUBG Mobile, which was developed by Chinese tech giant Tencent, India also banned TikTok, WeChat, and other Chinese apps. The government cited complaints it received about such apps “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.”
By cutting ties with Tencent and localizing development and data storage for PUBG Mobile, the PUBG Corporation might be able to mollify India’s digital regulators. It would be a significant boost for the corporation’s revenues, given that PUBG Mobile was India’s top grossing game in the country around the time of its ban. Earlier this month, it was announced that PUBG Mobile would be hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
The PUBG Corporation did note, though, that the re-launched game would have certain elements “customized for Indian gamers.” These include characters starting fully clothed, green liquid replacing blood, and framing the game as taking place in a “virtual simulation training ground,” not real life. There will also be limits on how long players can use the game “to promote healthy gameplay habits for younger players,” said the company. Video game analyst Daniel Ahmad noted on Twitter that these were all changes made in the Chinese version of the game developed by Tencent.