The Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has allegedly confirmed that it has not granted any permissions for the PUBG Mobile India Website and App so far. This confirmation comes via a response to a query filed by Medianama under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Medianama's RTI Application and Response
According to the website, they asked a variety of questions in the RTI. These were specific questions that sought to check whether Krafton or PUBG Corporation had sought permission from MEITY to re-launch PUBG Mobile or launch a modified version of the game called PUBG Mobile India. Medianama also asked if such requests had been approved by the MEITY, along with a list of conditions potentially placed before Krafton/PUBG Corp. Finally, they also requested a copy of physical correspondence between the ministry and Krafton/PUBG Corpo regarding user safety and other associated issues with the game.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) reportedly replied by stating:
“MeitY does not grant permission for starting of any websites / mobile Apps / service. Accordingly, MeitY has not granted permission to PUBG / PUBG mobile India.”
While the response itself does not answer all queries put forward by the website, it does provide a conclusive answer to the burning question about the game's launch in India. No permissions have been granted by MeitY that would allow 'PUBG' or 'PUBG Mobile India' to start a website, mobile app, or service in the country.
PUBG Mobile’s Unban No Closer Than It Was in October 2020
It looks like things are moving very slowly behind the scenes, despite PUBG Mobile taking several steps to release the localized version of the game.
On November 8th, an advertisement of PUBG Mobile India featuring popular Indian personalities was reportedly in the works. Following this, the game was announced with much fanfare along with a $100 Million investment plan. With the teaser launching on November 14th, expectations were sky-high for the release of the game. However, it looks like things have not progressed a whole lot since the teaser release.
Previously, it was reported that the Indian government doesn’t want to grant any relaxation to the popular mobile game in the country. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson Priyank Kanoongo also “strongly recommended” against the relaunch of the mobile app in India until appropriate legislations are in place for such online games.
So it looks like the game is stuck in limbo with no indications of its release.
Steps PUBG Mobile has taken to come back to India
PUBG Corp. has left no stone unturned in trying to get the game back into the country. The South Korean company said it would create a new Indian subsidiary to oversee the title. The game would “maximize data security and cater to local preferences” while also pledging to invest $100 million in the Indian “gaming, esports, entertainment, and IT industries.” If it goes through, this will be the largest investment by a South Korean firm in India outside of the manufacturing sector.
The game also announced that it had created a special localized version of the game devised for Indian users. The new version of the game claims to have addressed the privacy concerns cited as the reason behind the ban. In addition, it also implemented changes to certain PG restrictions like having fully clothed characters, green blood splatter, and limits on playtime.
Unfortunately, PUBG Mobile remains banned. Indian regulators would either need to overturn it or allow this custom version to launch in order for the game to be made playable for the Indian public. PUBG Corp has not officially announced a timeline for the game's return.