PUBG Mobile, which is officially listed in the Google Play Store as PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik has been banned along with PUBG MOBILE LITE. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology put out a press release today announcing the ban. The government has decided to ban these apps citing that they were prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, Defence of India, Security of State and Public Order. WeChat Work & WeChat reading are among the banned mobile apps.
Press Release Banning PUBG Mobile
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology stated that it had ‘received many complaints from various sources including several reports of misuse of some mobile apps’. The apps have been banned for allegedly ‘stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India’.
List of banned mobile game titles
The list also includes other mobile games like Dawn of Isles, Warpath, Mafia City, Arena of Valor, Soul Hunters, Mobile Legends: Pocket and MARVEL Super War. Other popular banned apps include WeChat Work, WeChat reading, Baidu and Meitu.
In June 2020, India banned 59 Chinese apps in a highly controversial move including social video sharing platform, Tik Tok. The list also includes Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Clash of Kings.
China's data sharing policy which mandates companies to share data with the Chinese government irrespective of where they operate from has been a cause of concern in many countries with even the United States of America contemplating banning certain apps including Tik Tok. While not confirmed, a ban on PUBG Mobile could have severe consequences on the country's growing gaming and esports scenes.
PUBG Mobile's popularity in the country has caused an entire ecosystem of team owners, organizations, tournament organizers, content creators, streamers, influencers and professional players to grow. India is also the country with the highest number of players for the title with over 175 million downloads. A ban on PUBG Mobile now threatens the livelihoods of many and would put a major dent on the entire esports industry.
This move comes as a surprise since Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently spoken out in support of the games industry, encouraging the creation of games based on Indian culture. An official statement published on his website addressed the potential of India's games industry, a category which also includes video games. The statement had singled out video games as an area of focus, recognising the need for "hackathons" involving young people and students, to encourage innovation in the country's games industry. Modi also emphasised that "India should tap the huge potential in this area, and lead the international digital gaming sector by developing games that are inspired from Indian culture and folk tales."