Following the ban of Chinese apps like Bytedance's TikTok over the last couple of months, the Indian government has blocked 118 more apps including the popular game PUBG Mobile. The blocked apps are said to have been engaged in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India and security of state and public order.
"We believe the transparency on the nature of ban and possible steps for these companies could have been mentioned as well to make it more clear for end users. As a result of this ban we will see more gaming platforms rising up and promote themselves like Call of Duty or Garena Free Fire" says Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint Research.
The ban on Chinese apps has led to a sudden surge in homegrown apps. Government of India's decision to ban some popular apps is being seen as a strategic move to boost Indian app ecosystem.
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"Such bans amidst rising volatility in Indo-China relationships will prove to be beneficial for Indian tech entrepreneurs and soon we will see a surge in better India apps. This will ensure data security and protect user's privacy better than these Chinese applications. In the past few weeks after the initial ban on the Chinese apps, we have seen that many Indian App developers wasted no time and have developed world class applications. Indian-origin CEOs are ruling the world especially those serving in the technology industry. We can develop better applications and be 'Vocal for Local' in technology development too," says Kapil Jain, Founder and MD of Graphitto Labs.
The decision to ban the Chinese apps to safeguard Indian users' data and protect the country against potential threat has been welcomed by app developers. This ban opens up tremendous opportunities for the Indian gaming ecosystem to align their businesses with the government's 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' strategy. It also enables gaming and eSports platforms like Rooter to grow even faster from here.
"We at Rooter always anticipated this to happen in the near future and so we kept on investing in other games. Most of the users and content creators on our platform engage in games other than PUBG. Rooter had less than 10 per cent PUBG streamers and it was a conscious effort on our part to ensure that we focus more on other games like Free Fire and Call of Duty. Both the games have strong engagement on Rooter and most of their top streamers are part of our user base," explains Piyush, CEO & Founder, Rooter.
"That said, in the last two and a half months, Rooter has witnessed unprecedented growth by adding nearly 3 million users. This ban will further fuel the growth, which will help us become a dominant player in the market," he further says.
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had received many complaints from various sources including several reports about the misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India.
"As a country that is deeply concerned with data privacy, it is important to have the Personal Data Protection Law passed with an empowered DPA that would ensure that we establish better data governance practices and impose heavy penalties on entities that are found to be non-compliant with the law. This will also ensure the government has widened supervisory control in key areas of Chinese dominance in the tech sector itself. There is also a need to foster the domestic startup community through enhanced funding, greater regulatory certainity, strategic partnerships with like minded countries on cross border data flow, etc," says Kazim Rizvi, The Dialogue Founding Director.
PUBG for desktop was developed by a subsidiary of South Korean video game company Bluehole. It was released for Microsoft Windows via Steam's early access beta program in March 2017, with a full release in December 2017. However, Tencent Mobile International Limited, a well know Chinses video game company, introduced the mobile version - PUBG Mobile in February 2018. PUBG Mobile has been one of the most popular smartphone games for years now. Some of the other popular apps on Google Play store by Tencent include PUBG Mobile Lite, Ludo World, Arena of Valor, and Chess Rush, of which all have been blocked. At the time of filing the story, both PUBG Mobile Nordic Map: Livik and PUBG Mobile Lite were available for download from Google Play Store and Apple App Store.