In a surprising incident, the Ministry of Electronics and IT announced a ban on PUBG Mobile and 117 other Chinese apps in India. As a result, this popular game will be removed from Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Recently, the Government of India has banned 59 Chinese owned apps including TikTok. Now, the crackdown seems to be more severe with a big list of 118 apps. The notable apps include Baidu, Ludo World, ShareSave by Xiaomi, APUS Launcher, Phone Booster, Tencent Weiyun, FaceU, AppLock Lite, Creative Destruction, Cyber Hunter, Rules of Survival etc.
Ban on 118 Chinese Apps:
Citing the concerns of safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace, the press release from IT Ministry quoted a ban on 118 apps. The list includes Apps related to gaming, software to edit selfies, dating sites, online payment services etc.
The PUBG Mobile ban seems to be a strategic move when the news broke out that the Chinese troops entered into South Bank of Ladakh’s Pangong Lake. Earlier, the Govt of India banned 59 Chinese Apps including TikTok when there were a series of clashes at Galwan Valley.
PUBG Mobile has around 400 million players and 50 million daily active players. This is more popular than the PUBG PC that has less than 1 million daily active players. As per a recent report from Online Analytics firm Sensor Tower, India holds the lion’s share with over 175 million downloads.
Don’t know how Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds transformed itself to PUBG, but this game has been an instant hit with the youngsters.
Immediately after the ban, the social media got flooded expressing their sadness. Some even started browsing to find out the Chinese roots of PUBG. In contrast, the elders circulated funny and cool memes.
Is PUBG a Chinese App?
Technically, PUBG PC has Korean roots (Bluehole company). But the Chinese Tencent Holdings has the majority control in the South Korean company. The PUBG desktop version is modified and developed by Tencent Games to suit the smartphone market. Undoubtedly without the inputs from Tencent Games venture capital, the popularity of PUBG Mobile can’t be written off.
The exponential growth of PUBG mobile community is a serious setback to the Indian live game streaming industry. Though there is a bit of negativity from the elder group, PUBG enjoyed a lot of market in India.
This ban will definitely hurt the game developers. The industry experts feel that that the Indian Government should have drawn an exercise giving some deadline or notice period. If we observe, the Trump Govt is still initiating the purchase of TikTok by Microsoft, Oracle and Walmart.
The serious gamers feel that a similar strategy should be implemented by Modi Govt rather than a blanket ban on PUBG.
The End of Road for High-end Gaming Phones?
Leaving it aside, what’s now with high-end gaming phones? Do you think one would still buy Asus ROG Phone 3? Would there be any takers for the recent Snapdragon 732G chipset?
It is definitely not an easy task to sell a gaming-focused smartphone that delivers high refresh rate consuming lots of RAM and AI-infused mobile SoC chips.
In the absence of PUBG, one would surely try Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Mobile (it could be the next banned game) and Garena’s Free Fire and more.
Unfortunately, one can’t blame the geopolitical issue for every small thing. Hope the latest threat gives ample opportunity for desi game developers to build an ecosystem for developing PUBG alternative.
Also Read: Govt Bans TikTok. Full List of 59 China-Linked Apps on Security Concern