Photo Credit: Facebook/ Battlegrounds Mobile India
PUBG Mobile India's new avatar Battlegrounds Mobile India is aimed at deceiving the government and citizens and should be banned in the country, Arunachal Pradesh Member of Legislative Assembly Ninong Ering demanded in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. He alleged that by launching the new game, its developer Krafton was sidestepping Indian laws. The launch date of Battlegrounds Mobile India is yet to be confirmed, though the South Korean company recently started taking pre-registrations for the game through Google Play store. The game is a redux of PUBG Mobile India that the government banned last year, among other games and apps, over data privacy concerns for their linkage with China.
“This is a mere illusion and a trick to relaunch the same game with minor modifications and collect user data of millions of our citizens, including our children and transfer it to foreign companies and the Chinese government,” Ering, who represents the Pasighat West Assembly constituency in the Northeastern Indian state, said in the letter. He also posted a copy of his three-page letter on Twitter, which was initially reported by IGN India.
Following the PUBG Mobile ban by the government in September last year, Krafton took away the publishing and distribution rights from China's Tencent Games for the game in India, though the company is still the publisher and distributor for the game in other countries. Ering, however, said that almost all of Krafton's Indian employees, including its senior management team, were former Tencent employees “who were miraculously all hired” by Krafton in December and are working on Battlegrounds Mobile India.
He mentioned that the URL of the game's listing on Google Play store also recently hinted that it was a relaunch of PUBG Mobile India. The MLA also alleged that Nodwin Gaming, the company that recently received an investment from Krafton, had extensive ongoing ties with Tencent. Citing news reports, he also said that Nodwin offered its services in Pakistan and had a local team there.
“Krafton has very close ties with Tencent and is now also an investor in Nodwin which works very closely with Tencent,” he stated.
The MLA stated that the points defined by him bring a definite conclusion that Battlegrounds Mobile India “is simply a relaunch of PUBG Mobile”.
“The gameplay features and other aspects will be the same,” he said. “Krafton has also added maps from PUBG in the relaunched game and the weapons will also be the same with just new names.”
“The launch announcement is also timed with the launch of Krafton's IPO, from which Tencent will directly benefit,” he said.
Ering also indicated that if PUBG Mobile was allowed to relaunch, it would lead others including TikTok and WeChat to re-enter the country. He added that the launch could bring the risks of “addiction, harm, and deaths” that were all seen with the battle royale game previously.
Gadgets 360 has reached out to Krafton and Nodwin Gaming for their comment on the matter and will update this space when they respond.