After a bit of back and forth over the last couple of months, PUBG Mobile is now officially banned in India. That’s pretty big news! The country has played a massive part in the game’s ongoing success and growth over the years. In response to the ban, PUBG Corporation is seizing back control of the title from Tencent and has already announced plans to work with the Indian government to get the game back online.
With all the splash screens you see when starting up PUBG Mobile, it’s hard to know who (or who doesn’t) play a part in bringing the game to market. The title doesn’t share parity with the PC and console versions because it isn’t developed by the same team. In some regions, the game doesn’t even have the same name.
Instead, Tencent licenses the intellectual property (IP) from PUBG Corporation to develop the mobile version in China with Lightspeed and Quantum Studio. Even then, the brand’s South Korean holding group retains the final say in what goes into the product. That means there’s a long chain of command in play here.
In a statement published on the brand’s official website, PUBG Corporation has shed some light on the surprise takeover.
In light of recent developments, PUBG Corporation has made the decision to no longer authorize the PUBG MOBILE franchise to Tencent Games in India. Moving forward, PUBG Corporation will take on all publishing responsibilities within the country.
That last line is enough to suggest the game may yet return to local app stores before alternative titles sway the masses away from the game. We’re talking about a project that captivated millions across the country and inspired its own, official live-action drama series there.
“As the company explores ways to provide its own PUBG experience for India in the near future, it is committed to doing so by sustaining a localized and healthy gameplay environment for its fans,” the statement continues. Going by this, it sounds as if the game’s potential return could come at the cost of worldwide integration. Similar to how the Chinese version Game of Peace is locked to the region, a PUBG Mobile app published by PUBG Corporation in India may function as a standalone title. This would lock Indian players out of teaming up, or competing with players on other servers. It’s all speculation for now, however.
Should the game return to India, PUBG Mobile shouldn’t just become a shell of its former self in the region. The official post highlights how PUBG Corporation already handles the game’s distribution in South Korea. That means changes ought to be minimal. Instead, just expect more unique rewards as the company looks to explore “…different ways to engage its community in India through various region-based activities, including esports and events.”
Through the relatively brief statement, PUBG Corporation appears invested in supporting the game’s 15 million daily players across India. Despite how dire the situation seemed just a few short days ago, the prospect of a tailor-made experience for the region could lead to increased local relevance for the title going forward. More culturally aware events, rewards, and outfits could even help avoid things like the disastrous launch of the Jungle Adventure mode going forward, too.
There’s no word on when PUBG Corporation expects to get the game back online across India. Yet updates were promised “when available,” and when the company and the Indian government agree on a solution that’s “…fully compliant with Indian laws and regulations.” You’ll know more when we do, basically.
Disclaimer: Fanbyte is owned by Tencent, which also runs Tencent Games, developer and publisher of PUBG Mobile. Tencent also subsidizes much of Fanbyte’s PUBG Mobile coverage by covering freelancer budget costs. Those covering PUBG Mobile for the site have no contact with Tencent, however, and are given complete creative control to write whatever they wish.