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PUBG Mobile may never return to India with govt's permanent ban

PUBG Mobile India is on the stands for a while now, awaiting its official launch in India but that may never happen now.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | January 27, 2021 | Updated 20:43 IST

Highlights

  • PUBG Mobile India may not launch because the ban seems permanent.
  • The MeitY notified apps this week that the ban is not going to get lifted.
  • PUBG owned, on the other hand, has been hiring for India subsidiary.

India's ban on PUBG Mobile may be a permanent one, blocking the entry of the smash-hit battle royale again into India. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) notified companies, including PUBG Corporation, about the permanent ban earlier this week. And now it seems there is no way this permanent ban is going to be reversed in India, making it difficult for PUBG Mobile to return in a censored form.

According to a report by IGN India, citing sources familiar with the situation of PUBG Mobile, the battle royale game may not return. The government has "no plans to unban" the mobile version of Playerunknown's Battlegrounds. "The authorities aren't stupid, even if publishing duties have changed hands, the development of the game is still based in China," the source was quoted as saying in the report. "The entire exercise seems like putting lipstick on a pig."

However, a second source expressed optimism when he said that PUBG Corporation does not "have the right team in place just yet to talk to the government." This source is hopeful that the discussions between PUBG Corporation and the Indian government may begin by March or April, making way for Indian esports teams "can participate by the second half of the year in international tournaments."

This is in line with the turn of events ever since PUBG Corporation announced it is bringing PUBG Mobile back to India in a new avatar. Last year, several reports pointed out that the government is not in the mood to listen to PUBG Corporation officials over the resurrection of the battle royale game. This was after PUBG Corporation registered PUBG Mobile India as the Indian subsidiary with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in Bengaluru. Later, in a reply to at least two different RTI requests, the IT Ministry said it "does not grant permission for starting of any websites, mobile apps, or service." Consequently, permission to PUBG Mobile was also not granted.

The government's stance on PUBG Mobile is not profoundly clear and there is a lot of confusion on the company's side, as well. Even with dismal turnabouts for itself, Krafton has continued hiring for key roles in India. Last month, Krarfton appointed Aneesh Arvind as the country manager for PUBG Mobile India who was earlier on China's Tencent's payroll. Not just Arvind, there are several other people who previously worked at Tencent India that Krafton has hired for PUBG Mobile India. Considering the company is bullishly hiring more people to create a team to manage the India team for PUBG Mobile, there might still be a glimmer of hope for the comeback of PUBG Mobile in India, even if it is in a toned-down form.

Meanwhile, FAU-G is now available to download in India on Android phones. The homegrown app fared decently against the expectations of people who have been awaiting the relaunch of either PUBG Mobile or an app that is basically the same. But FAU-G is nothing like PUBG Mobile. It is a rather simple game that is based on the Galwan Valley skirmish between India and China last year. FAU-G gathered over 1 million downloads a day from its launch.

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