In news which is bound to dishearten fans and religious gamers of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), the Union government is in no mood of revoking the ban on the South Korean game, even as PUBG Corp announced that it would be severing all ties with Tencent Games in India, and would be taking upon itself the publishing and distribution rights. This cessation of ties with the Chinese gaming major had raised hopes within India that the game would soon make a comeback in India, however, that does not appear to be the case.
As per a Reuters report, a senior government official in the know of all developments relating to PUBG and its current status in India said, “The violent nature of the game has been the cause of many complaints from all quarters. That does not change with the change in ownership rights.” This shows that while the government obviously banned the multiplayer and immensely popular game out of concerns relating to national and cybersecurity, the violent nature of the game has not been given a miss.
It must be mentioned that PUBG Corp has been trying its hands, off late in India, and working overtime to devise a strategy in order to get the ban imposed on it lifted. To the same effect, PUBG Corp had not only stripped Tencent Games of all publishing rights in India but had also entered into heavy negotiations with the Reliance-owned Jio for publishing and distribution rights within the country.
Yet, for the government to raise the issue of inherent ‘violence’ in the game has set the bar quite high for the South Korean PUBG Corp, and its parent company – Bluehole, in which Tencent Games has a 10 percent stake since 2018. It also tells us that a lifting of the ban on PUBG in India will not be cheap, and will require a complete overhaul of not just ownership and publishing structures, but also a drastic change and mellowing down of the content itself.
Around the world, there is a growing consensus that China and its ruling Communist regime uses mobile applications distributed across the world as tools for espionage, spying, and data thefts. The world and the USA particularly took a cue from India’s banning of TikTok to pull a similar manoeuvre back in the states.
PUBG Corp must remember that the unprecedented offensive against the Chinese economy is a direct consequence of the paper dragon’s misadventures against India along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh, not to mention a part of an onslaught against the rogue middle kingdom for its killing of 20 Indian soldiers on June 15. PUBG in India has been banned due to the same Chinese misadventures, and to get the app delisted from the ban list, it must undertake far-reaching changes in all spheres. Even then, the final word on whether to lift the ban on the game rests with the Union government.