Shady Ideas

Half Mag / Half Zine

Battlegrounds Mobile, which is PUBG Mobile’s India-specific avatar, recently opened pre-registration on the Google Play app store. Though its developers are yet to share details over the launch, a report had claimed that the India-specific title might roll out on June 18. However, ahead of its official launch, Arunachal Pradesh Member of Legislative Assembly Ninong Ering demanded in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the game should not release in India as it allegedly poses a risk to national security – similar to the original PUBG Mobile (now banned in the country). He adds the latest version of the action title by South Korean based Krafton is a “mere illusion” and the “same game with minor modification” to Indian citizens’ data.

Speaking over Battleground Mobile‘s links to the Chinese government, the minister noted that the China-based Tencent remains the “second-largest stakeholder” of Krafton with a 15.5 per cent stake. He added that the Chinese company remains the publisher and distributor of PUBG Mobile outside India. Previously, Krafton stated that the company severed ties with Tencent Games for the distribution of new PUBG Mobile in the country in partnership with Microsoft Azure. He also stated that there were references to PUBG in Battlegrounds Mobile’s Google Play link. MLA Ering alleged that Nodwin Gaming, an Indian company that Krafton invested in recently, has “ongoing ties” with Tencent and is expected to host the new game on its servers. He claims that the return of PUBG Mobile or Battlegrounds Mobile would lead to the re-emergence of TikTok or WeChat.

Last year after Krafton announced the return of PUBG Mobile in the country, the apex child rights body National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) said it would not be appropriate to relaunch PUBG until proper legislations are in place. NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo had also “strongly recommended” against the relaunch of the mobile. At the moment, both Krafton and Nodwin are yet to respond to MLA’s Ninong Ering open letter.