In an effort to pacify the Indian mobile gaming community, and possibly reverse the Indian government’s recent ban on PUBG Mobile, Korean-based PUBG Corporation has, in an official statement on their website, decided to deauthorize Tencent Games from publishing in India, and take over the responsibilities.
PUBG Corporation is actively monitoring the situation around the recent bans of PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik and PUBG MOBILE Lite in India. It has seen an overwhelming amount of support for the game from the country’s player base and would like to thank the community for their passion and enthusiasm.
PUBG Corporation fully understands and respects the measures taken by the government as the privacy and security of player data is a top priority for the company. It hopes to work hand-in-hand with the Indian government to find a solution that will allow gamers to once again drop into the battlegrounds while being fully compliant with Indian laws and regulations.
In light of recent developments, PUBG Corporation has made the decision to no longer authorize the PUBG MOBILE franchise to Tencent Games in India. Moving forward, PUBG Corporation will take on all publishing responsibilities within the country. As the company explores ways to provide its own PUBG experience for India in the near future, it is committed to doing so by sustaining a localized and healthy gameplay environment for its fans.
PUBG MOBILE is the mobile version of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG), an intellectual property owned and developed by PUBG Corporation, a South Korean gaming company. The company is actively engaged in developing and publishing PUBG on multiple platforms, including PUBG MOBILE in select territories, to provide the best player experiences possible.
PUBG Corporation is committed to providing its unique battle royale experience to a global audience and hopes to continue engaging with its passionate player base in India. In addition to regular content updates, the company is exploring different ways to engage its community in India through various region-based activities, including esports and community events.
Further updates will be provided at a later date when available.
Bluehole Ginno Games had originally developed the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds video game back in 2017 for the PC platform along with Brendan Greene, the mod creator famous for creating the Battle Royale genre. Bluehole is a subsidiary of Krafton Inc., a holding company based in Seongnam, South Korea. After its tremendous success, Bluehole Ginno Games was renamed to PUBG Corporation. At the year of its launch when Bluehole was actively looking for investors, Chinese giant Tencent had tried to acquire the company, but ended up investing 70 billion won for a 1.5% shareholding. Their next investment of 500 billion won for an added 8.5% stake followed after a few months, as reported by the Korean Herald in 2018, making Tencent the second-largest shareholder. The PUBG Mobile version was developed by internal studios at Tencent Games – Lightspeed & Quantum. Global publishing rights, at this moment, are still held by Tencent.
After mounting tensions at the LAC and the escalating standoff with China, India had banned 118 mobile apps which included PUBG Mobile, on September 2. By September 4, Tencent’s market value fell by over 3% (nearly $34 billion). Will this move by Bluehole be enough to remove the ban on PUBG Mobile? Industry experts like Niko Partners’ Senior Analyst Daniel Ahmad and founder of The Mako Reactor Rishi Alwani, have their reservations.
However, it is unclear whether India's government would accept this as Tencent would still be the developer of the game. PUBG Corp may have to work around this in some way.
You can read our previous analysis on the Chinese app bans in India here: https://t.co/h7N3NItcUh
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) September 8, 2020
And while publishing duties could go to PUBG Corp, will Tencent still handle development of the game? If so, wouldn’t that still be in violation of the way data privacy laws here in India work? This move appears to be a bandaid solution if Tencent still develops the game.
— 0xSkeptic | Cringe Connoisseur (@RishiAlwani) September 8, 2020
With India increasingly looking towards an economic bargaining chip to break this standoff and its concerns about the data privacy of its citizens, the future of PUBG Mobile in the country seems unsteady.