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What is Microsoft Azure? The company collaborating with PUBG Mobile over data security

Microsoft Azure to solve PUBG Mobile
Microsoft Azure to solve PUBG Mobile's security issues
ANALYST
Modified 08 Nov 2020, 16:45 IST
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PUBG Mobile’s journey in the Indian esports landscape has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride in 2020.

From receiving a nationwide app ban on the 2nd of September to having its active servers scrapped by the 30th of October, it’s safe to assume that PUBG Mobile is going through a lot at the moment.

However, all being said and done, there is a ray of glimmering hope for the PUBG Mobile fans, as the game might be looking to plot its return back into the Indian esports market.

KRAFTON Inc. had announced a couple of days ago that they would be working with Microsoft Azure to host its portfolio of multiplatform products. And this news led to the belief that PUBG Mobile will finally be getting its one-way ticket back to India.

But what does a collective of independent game development teams hooking up with a public cloud computing service have to do with PUBG Mobile and its return?

Well, that is exactly what we are here to answer today. And we will be showing you why this single decision from KRAFTON will be instrumental in completely changing the Indian esports scene in the coming months.

PUBG Mobile gets banned in India on the 2nd of September

Image via: PUBG Mobile
Image via: PUBG Mobile

Now, before we dig any further into our argument, let us first look at some of the facts and details that lead us to the topic at hand.

PUBG Mobile was inevitably banned on the 2nd of September 2020 (it wasn’t the only banned Tencent-related app), and it came as a backdrop to the ensuing tension that was taking place between India and China near the Himalayan border.

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The international mess that this generated served as a means for India's IT Ministry to clamp down on the apps and software that had major Chinese backers.

TikTok, PUBG Mobile, and Rules of Survival are some of the biggest examples of apps that received the ban hammer. 

The IT Ministry backed their decision by claiming that these apps were acting against the country’s best interests. They have received 'credible information' that,

"misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India."
"The compilation of this data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures."

Security breach has been cited as the major reason behind the PUBG Mobile ban, and this inevitably led to the developers cutting ties with their Chinese backers.

India has been one of the biggest markets for PUBG Mobile, and the IT Ministry's decision crippled not only the country's mobile esports scene but also the game's overall player base.

The PUBG Corporation cuts ties with Tencent

Image via Tencent
Image via Tencent
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Hard times always calls for harsh decisions, and for the PUBG Mobile devs, this choice manifested itself in the form of cutting all ties with their Chinese backers. 

Just a week into the PUBG Mobile ban in India, the game’s developers came out with a statement that read,

“In light of recent developments, PUBG Corporation has made the decision to no longer authorize the PUBG Mobile franchise to Tencent Games in India.”

However, it’s important to note here that the decision is exclusive to India alone, and the Tencent markets in other PUBG popular regions were not affected by this move.

Unfortunately, this radical decision on the PUBG Mobile developers' part was not enough to help the game make its way back to India.

And by the 30th of October, PUBG Mobile’s Indian servers were scrapped, and players only had access to the game through illegal VPN uses.

But KRAFTON looking for hosting solutions with Microsoft Azure can change all that, and we would be lying if we said that the PUBG devs did not hint at such a move previously.

KRAFTON to look towards Microsoft Azure for hosting solutions

Image via KRAFTON
Image via KRAFTON
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So what is KRAFTON?

As stated on Wikipedia:

“KRAFTON, Inc. is a collective of independent game development teams responsible for various entertainment properties, including PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS and TERA. The name, which is derived from the word craftsmanship, is an acknowledgment of the company’s never-ending pursuit of innovation and creating engaging experiences. KRAFTON currently consists of PUBG Corporation, Bluehole, Striking Distance Studios, PNIX, and Delusion.”

In layman’s terms, they are a collective of game designers, who a few days ago announced their merger with Microsoft Azure for all their hosting and server security needs.

However, the PUBG Corporation did hint at such a radical move previously, and in a statement, they said

“Moving forward, PUBG Corporation will take on all publishing responsibilities within the country. 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.”
“PUBG Corporation fully understands and respects the measures taken by the government as the privacy and security of player data is a top priority for the company. It hopes to work hand-in-hand with the Indian government to find a solution that will allow gamers to once again drop into the battlegrounds while being fully compliant with Indian laws and regulations.”

The PUBG Corp further added, 

"Protecting user data has always been a top priority, and we have always complied with applicable data protection laws and regulations in India. All users’ gameplay information is processed in a transparent manner, as disclosed in our privacy policy. We deeply regret this outcome, and sincerely thank you for your support and love for PUBG MOBILE in India."
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Microsoft Azure and how it will solve PUBG Mobile’s security issues

Image via Microsoft
Image via Microsoft

The PUBG Mobile developers have made data security their top priority, and much seems to be the same for the entirety of the KRAFTON collective as well.

Their partnership with Microsoft Azure would seem to be a significant upgrade for the org, as Azure is known for its incredible security measures.

Much of Azure’s success comes from its use of a specialized operating system, which is also called ‘Microsoft Azure’ that manages the computing and storage of resources on Microsoft’s data centers.

“Microsoft Azure has been described as a 'cloud layer' on top of a number of Windows Server systems, which use Windows Server 2008 and a customized version of Hyper-V, known as the Microsoft Azure Hypervisor to provide virtualization of services.”

Moreover, to manage privacy and security-related concerns, Microsoft has created a Microsoft Azure Trust Center, along with having many of Azure’s services compliant with various programs, which include ISO 27001:2005 and HIPAA.

When it comes to scaling and reliability, it’s Azure’s Fabric Controller that comes into play, and it:

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“ensures the services and environment do not fail if one or more of the servers fails within the Microsoft data center, and which also provides the management of the user's Web application such as memory allocation and load balancing.”

This ultimately will allow the user:

“to browse active resources, modify settings, launch new resources, and view basic monitoring data from active virtual machines and services.”

With Microsoft Azure, the PUBG Corporation will be making an attempt to future-proof their stay in India. As the collaboration will make sure that all of the user’s (player’s) privacy rights are respected and:

“the relevant software will be in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”

However, KRAFTON will be going a step further with their security measures, and they will also be working with Microsoft to introduce a verification process:

“to ensure that storage of personally identifiable information of its players follows all appropriate requirements in the territories where KRAFTON and its subsidiaries operate gaming services.”

There is even some conjecture going around the PUBG community that this step might even create a viable solution for the hacking problem that is rampant in the game right now. And if that is the case, then PUBG Mobile will indeed be changing the Indian esports landscape significantly. 

Published 08 Nov 2020, 15:54 IST
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