PUBG Mobile may never be allowed again in Indian app stores, suggests reports citing people familiar with the matter. According to Reuters, which spoke to government officials with knowledge of the matter, the ban on PUBG Mobile in India appears to be permanent, even as PUBG Corp severed its ties with the China-based Tencent Gaming as its publisher for the game in India. The virally popular PUBG Mobile, which evolved as the smartphone version of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, enjoyed extreme popularity in India and is often credited as the game that pushed numerous casual gaming enthusiasts into professional gaming. However, in its latest directive on apps with links to China, PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite were among the apps that faced the axe.
Now, reports indicate that even without its link to Chinese publishers, PUBG Mobile is seemingly being considered as a game that is “too violent" in nature. As a result, it may never be allowed back in the Indian cyber space again, in light of the violence as well as the tendency of addiction that the game brings. The government official’s statement sounds similar to what China’s government had also ruled for the game, following which PUBG Corp had introduced Game For Peace, designed specifically for China. It will be interesting to see if something similar is promoted in India as well, in the long run.
PUBG Mobile’s ban in India set rolling a number of discussions around how the burgeoning professional gaming sector would be impacted. While some gamers rued the game’s ban, most professional players as well as promoters of gaming in India remained optimistic that the ban on PUBG Mobile in India would not stop the gaming juggernaut that PUBG had set rolling. For most gamers, international esports companies signed them under gaming and tournament contracts, and the same may trickle over to alternate games and titles, such as Call of Duty Mobile, Garena Free Fire and others.
It will also be important to note how PUBG Mobile’s developers react to word on the game being a promoter of violence, even as other battle royale titles are allowed to operate in the Indian cyber space. So far, gaming in India has not had to face with censorship based on violence, since video games have always been treated as a dissociation from the real world. However, increasing stories of suicides and self harm surfaced with links to parents attempting to restrict PUBG Mobile-based gaming time for children, which may be seen as an impact of the game’s addictive nature in the long run — especially for those who fail to dissociate the game from the rest of their lives.