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Why were PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite banned in India?

The games were banned as they were "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order." (Image via PUBG Mobile)
The games were banned as they were "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order." (Image via PUBG Mobile)
ANALYST
Modified 30 Mar 2021
Feature

PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite are arguably some of the biggest names in the Battle Royale genre. The titles have regularly topped the charts in their segment since their release.

However, the journey of these games in 2020 was a rollercoaster ride filled with ups and downs. They accomplished incredible milestones but were also suspended in India, one of their biggest markets.

News of the suspension came in like a bolt from the blue. Fans of the game were left unscathed in the earlier ban-wave. But this time, PUBG fell under the scrutiny of the state.

PUBG Corporation's announcement about the specific Indian version brought in a ray of hope as the trailer was released. However. It's been months since the trailer, and glimmers of hope have started to fade.


Reason for PUBG Mobile ban

On September 2, 2020, India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology axed 118 apps citing,

"Prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order."

This list of suspended apps included two prominent gaming titles – PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite.

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An official statement by the government read,

"The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources, including several reports about the 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 these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence 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."
"In the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India and security of the State. And using the sovereign powers, the Government of India has decided to block the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet enabled devices. "

In simple words, the two popular titles were blocked in India because of security concerns. Since then, many updates have poured in about PUBG Mobile's future in India, but the same hasn't been the case for PUBG Mobile Lite.

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The government's replies to the RTIs revealed that PUBG Mobile wasn't banned in the country but was instead blocked for public access.

Also read: "PUBG Mobile India has been given a green signal by the government": GodNixon Gaming shares update on game's return

Published 30 Mar 2021, 13:45 IST
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