As we near a launch date for FAU-G, India’s very own shooting Battle Royale game, many Indian fans of PUBG Mobile continue waiting for news on the app’s ban to be lifted. While the PUBG team has been taking a bunch of efforts to clear its allegations on privacy and to bring the app back online in India, there has been no formal word on the matter from the government.
However, a recent report by InsideSport suggests that the lifting of the ban is unlikely, at least in the near future. The report mentions the government’s reply in response to an RTI filed by Gem Wire. The responses give us answers to some important questions including whether there is an ongoing dialogue between the government and the PUBG/Krafton on the app’s return.
What has PUBG been doing to reverse the ban?
Before we analyse the government’s responses, here is a summary of what PUBG Corp has been doing to get them back on Indian smartphones. Since the ban took down PUBG Mobile in India in September 2020, South Korean company Krafton has created a new application specifically for India. Reportedly cutting all ties with China, the new app, ‘PUBG Mobile India’, will have localised data centres in the country. PUBG is also reportedly hiring a team of developers for the game in India, which will be led by Aneesh Aravind, country manager for PUBG Mobile in India.
RTI’s responses suggest no ongoing talks to bring back PUBG Mobile
The first query asked for clarification on the ban affecting a new application (like the newly created PUBG Mobile India) that has no ties with China. The RTI’s response stated that “This Ministry has not ‘banned’ for public access the PUBG Mobile Nordic Map: Livik App under the provisions of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000”.
From an RTI filed by us regarding PUBG Mobile India. Here’s the query and response. To know what it means:
— GemWire (@GemWire) January 7, 2021
Another query asked the grounds on which the new app would be banned, should the ban on the older application be carried forward. The response here was “Blocking applies to specific App only”. The final query asked if any open dialogue was in progress between PUBG Corp or Krafton and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. The response here was “No formal dialogue with PUBG/Krafton is held by this Ministry.”
What does this mean for PUBG Mobile India?
The new reports suggest that despite the efforts allegedly taken by PUBG Corp to make an India specific version of the game in the form of PUBG Mobile India, lack of talks between the corporation and the ministry may indefinitely delay the launch of the app in the country. Further, with the launch of FAU-G all set for January 26, the green light for a rival like PUBG seems unlikely any time soon.
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