Last month, the Government of India decided to ban 59 Chinese apps in India including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, TikTok, Clash of Kings and others due to rising tensions with CHINA alongside privacy and security concerns. However, the list did not include popular mobile games like PUBG MOBILE and Call of Duty Mobile. Many vocal supporters of the government’s decision have been questioning whether these Tencent-owned games should be banned as well. Tencent Games is based out of Shenzhen, China. However, the games themselves are not completely Chinese.
The original PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds was developed and is currently managed by the PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of Bluehole, which is located in South Korea. After the initial success of the game, Tencent Games approached PUBG Corporation to partner with them and distribute the game in China. Tencent Games is a part of Tencent Holdings, which is a Chinese multinational. PUBG PC and the console versions of the game are not Chinese. However, profits made by PUBG Corp. do end up getting shared as Tencent holds 11.5% stakes in Bluehole. Tencent later developed and introduced PUBG MOBILE in China but it did not get the approval of the government to monetize it. After the wild success of PUBG MOBILE in China, Tencent Games brought it to India.
On the other hand, to launch Call of Duty Mobile, Activision partnered with TiMi Studios, which is a subsidiary of Tencent Games. Activision is a subsidiary of California-based Activision Blizzard.
However, the mixed ownership and the IP registrations might not be the actual reason as to why these mobile video games were not banned. The Indian government hasn’t issued any statement or clarification on this topic yet. Both PUBG MOBILE and Call of Duty Mobile are available for download and play on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The Indian servers for both the games are also live and active.
PUBG MOBILE recently faced the ban hammer from the Chinese government. The government said that because of its addictive and violent nature, it was negatively impacting its youth, bringing down productivity.
This forced Tencent to get rid of the game in China. However, they introduced a clone app version of the game called ‘Game for Peace’. Reports suggest that this version of PUBG MOBILE was redesigned to be more patriotic to appeal to the Chinese government and would not get banned.