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PUBG India Avatar Battlegrounds Mobile Should Be Banned, MLA Says in Letter to PM Modi

“This is a mere illusion and a trick to relaunch the same game with minor modifications,” Arunachal Pradesh’s Member of Legislative Assembly Ninong Ering said.

PUBG India Avatar Battlegrounds Mobile Should Be Banned, MLA Says in Letter to PM Modi

Photo Credit: Facebook/ Battlegrounds Mobile India

Battlegrounds Mobile India is up for pre-registration on the Google Play store

Highlights
  • Battlegrounds Mobile India ban has been demanded by Ninong Ering
  • PUBG redux is accused of launching with an aim to collect data of Indians
  • PUBG Mobile India avatar is in development by South Korea’s Krafton

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.”

Erring believes that the renamed game is Tencent's “indirect way of entering India” and capturing data of Indian citizens. He said that the privacy policy of the game stated that while its data would be stored locally in India and Singapore, it would be transferred to other countries and regions to operate the game service and meet legal requirements.

“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.


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Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send in your leads and tips. More
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