Players Unknown Battleground (PUBG) mobile and the news of the battle-royale game making a comeback in a revamped and much more Indian-ised way have been doing rounds of the internet since the beginning of the month. According to InsideSport, PUBG Corporation is planning to create an Indian subsidiary that will hire over 100 employees specializing in business, esports, and game development backgrounds.
This move will further erode the Chinese presence after PUBG revoked the Indian franchisee of PUBG Mobile from Chinese Tencent Games. It is being reported that the Indian version will be different from what the global version used to be. Furthermore, to lure its old gaming base, the company is expected to announce alluring cash prizes that might run in lakhs and crores.
6 crores first prize for pubg tournament! Surprised?! Min salary 40k-2L for tier 1 teams to huge prizepools which increases every season. “ESPORTS” the beginning of a new era. This is the perfect time to try your hand in esports #GamersUnite
— Abhijeet Andhare (@TSMentGHATAK) November 20, 2020
However, the Union government so far has been tight-lipped on the entire issue, and unless PUBG Mobile crosses the bureaucratic hurdles, it will not be coming to any platform in India any sooner.
PUBG Mobile & PC and the former’s Chinese connection
PUBG Mobile had an explicit Chinese link unlike its PC version and thus the government of India had thrown the kitchen sink at it and banned the highly popular game citing security issues of the state, which were highly compromised.
The PC variant of PUBG has been both developed and published by Korean developer – PUBG Corp, which is a subsidiary of the South Korean video game company Bluehole Studio. It is now held under a unified gaming brand named Krafton Game Union.
PUBG Mobile, however, has been developed as a mobile application by Tencent Holdings, which is a Chinese Holding conglomerate. Although the game has taken its essence from PUBG Corp, the mobile version has been both developed and published by Tencent. The Chinese tech giant company has been allegedly accused of harvesting the user’s data by storing it outside India and ultimately feeding it to the CCP.
PUBG had anticipated the ban
Before the ban took effect, PUBG had sensed that its days were limited and as a result had made some last-ditch attempts to salvage its reputation. It had revised its privacy policies and stated that all data PUBG Mobile collected from its Indian players will be stored on local servers within the country. But the revision in policy came a little too late as the Union Government had already made plans to dismantle the app.
PUBG Corp dumped Tencent
Immediately after the ban, PUBG Corp. had issued a statement whereby it dumped Tencent altogether and pledged to take up all the publishing responsibilities of the game.
“In light of recent developments, PUBG Corporation has made the decision to no longer authorise the PUBG MOBILE franchise to Tencent Games in India. Moving forward, PUBG Corporation will take on all publishing responsibilities within the country,” read the statement issued.
According to several reports, to make a comeback in India, Krafton Inc, which owns PUBG Corp, has signed a deal with Microsoft that will let the PUBG parent host the game on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. The deal allows Krafton to host products directly operated by the company and its subsidiaries, including PUBG on PC and Consoles, in addition to PUBG Mobile.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has been able to bend PUBG according to its will and if the game launches in the Indian market after the necessary tweaks, a precedent will be set for all the Chinese companies that resort to stealing and harvesting users data for CCP’s nefarious purposes. The assertiveness of the Narendra Modi government has shown that the Chinese companies cannot take India for granted as a pushover and this regime, unlike its predecessors is not afraid to take the harsh yet tactically correct calls.