PUBG Mobile has been banned in India along with 117 other apps made by Chinese developers as international relations sour over a border dispute.
The #1 app in India, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, has become the latest victim of rising tensions along the border with China after skirmishes in a military standoff began in May this year. PUBG Mobile had more than 50 million players in the country alone last year. The ban is also likely to impact esports organizations as both TSM and Fnatic have active rosters of Indian players in PUBG Mobile.
Other games caught in the ban include Arena of Valor, Rules of Survival (a PUBG clone published by NetEase) and the hilariously named (though naff-looking) Dank Tanks.
While PUBG's PC and console games are developed by a subsidiary of South Korean company Bluehole (the Ginno Games studio working on the battle royale was later renamed PUBG Corp) the mobile version is developed by LightSpeed & Quantum Studio, an internal company within Tencent. The Chinese technology giant acquired a small stake in Bluehole in 2017 and began work on a mobile version of the game after securing publishing rights in China for the region's Windows release.
The Indian government's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology released a press statement today announcing that '118 mobile apps which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order' would be blocked in the country.
The move has been made based on 'many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India'.
These accusations of data harvesting are accompanied by allegations by the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center that it could be used for 'profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India'.
Though nowhere in the press release is it mentioned that the 'hostile element' being targeted by these measures is China, every single one of the 118 apps blocked by the order is developed by Chinese companies. Aside from games, other apps like Youku (the Chinese version of YouTube) and WeChat (WhatsApp but without end-to-end encryption) have also been banned.
If you're not in India and can still play PUBG Mobile check out some of these tips and tricks to get you that coveted chicken dinner.