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Government blocks Krafton's India-only version of PUBG

Two years after PUBG Mobile ban, Battlegrounds Mobile India is delisted over 'national security concerns'

Battlegrounds Mobile India, the country's version of PUBG, has been blocked by the Indian government.

As reported by Reuters, citing an Indian government source, the ban came from "national security concerns" around data sharing and mining from China as PUBG's developer, Krafton, is owned at 13.6% by Chinese tech giant Tencent.

The government invoked section 69A of its Information Technology Act to enforce the ban, which allows the government "to block public access to content in the interest of national security," Reuters said.

The ban hasn't been publicly acknowledged by the Indian government, but Battlegrounds Mobile India wasn't available on Google Play or the App Store as of Thursday evening. However, TechCrunch reported that a Krafton spokesperson confirmed the delisting and that the studio was "seeking clarification."

This ban comes a couple of years after PUBG Mobile -- which was published directly by Tencent in India -- was banned in the country over privacy concerns, alongside over 100 apps with ties to Chinese companies.

At the time, PUBG Corp responded to the ban by removing Tencent from the equation and announcing that it would self-publish in the country going forward.

A few weeks later, the Indian government said it had no plans to revoke the ban as the title, alongside the other apps banned, posed a threat to national security in the way they collect user data.

PUBG Corp announced an Indian version of the title in November 2020 to get around the ban, which Indian politicians soon called to be banned as well.

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Marie Dealessandri avatar
Marie Dealessandri: Marie joined in 2019 to head its Academy section. A journalist since 2012, she started in games in 2016. She can be found (rarely) tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate and the Dead Cells soundtrack. GI resident Moomins expert.
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