Even as gamers around the country are gearing up for the release of the much-awaited PUBG replacement ‘Battlegrounds Mobile India’, an Arunachal Pradesh MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) has written to the Prime Minister to ban the game in the country.
MLA Ninong Ering tweeted the letter addressing the Prime Minister to “not allow Chinese deception” and called it a “big threat to (the) security of India and privacy of our citizens”. Calling the re-launch a way to “circumvent and disregard” the country’s laws, Ering also tagged the Home Minister in the tweet along with hashtags such as Nation First and Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
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The three-page letter also contains allegations about Krafton’s ownership, with Ering claiming that former Tencent employees in the country have been re-hired as Krafton employees. He also states that Krafton’s second-biggest stakeholder is Tencent, which is based in China and that the launch has been “timed” with Krafton’s IPO launch which he alleges will benefit Tencent. It must be noted that there is no reference to Tencent or to PUBG Mobile on the company’s website for the Indian version of the game.
We have recently reported that two Battlegrounds Mobile India maps that have been teased by the company, one Sanhok (featuring the Ban Tai dock) and the Erangel map, which are likely to make their way to the Indian version once it is relaunched. Ering has also pointed out that the Google Play Store URL for the new game also contains the term PUBG mobile.
Krafton had previously issued a news update on their website for Battlegrounds Mobile India, stating: “With privacy and data security being a top priority, KRAFTON will be working with partners, to ensure data protection and security, at each stage. This will ensure privacy rights are respected, and all data collection and storage will be in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in India and for players here,” the company had stated.
While Ering’s tweet containing his letter addressed to the Prime Minister has garnered angry responses from gamers on Twitter, who have opposed the move. Krafton is yet to release an official statement, but we will update this story if one is provided. Whether the Indian government accept the demands made in the letter remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely given the previously quoted statement on Krafton’s website that suggests the company is working with relevant stakeholders before the game is launched.