PUBG Mobile was recently reported as the highest-earning mobile game of 2020 globally irrespective of India ban. The game is highly speculated to relaunch in India as the company is making all the efforts to bring back the game. The company has also started teasing the game trailer hinting towards an imminent launch. PUBG Corps has also revealed that the country will receive a separate version of the game called PUBG Mobile India version and run on India based servers. The company has made too many commitments, but it seems the Indian government is still not happy.
Replying to an RTI query, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has confirmed that the Centre has not granted approval to relaunch the PUBG Mobile in the country. The RTI query was filed by GEM Esports on November 30, the RTI reply was shared by GEM Esports on their official Instagram handle.
“MEITY has not given any permission for launch of PUBG,” MEITY response to the RTI. It has been reported that PUBG Corps are chasing the MEITY official for months to conduct a meeting, but unfortunately, they are yet to get an appointment from the government. It seems that PUBG fans still need to hold their horses as the game developers are not getting permission, which will cause delay to relaunch the game.
Can MeitY grant permission for an app/game to launch in India?
The interesting bit to answer here is whether MeitY grants permissions to launch an app, game or a website in India? The ministry did issue the circular reading out the ban on hundreds of Chinese apps, but does it also give an official nod for something to launch? Another RTI query filed by Medianama has received this response from MeitY –
“MeitY does not grant permission for starting of any websites / mobile Apps / service. Accordingly, MeitY has not granted permission to PUBG / PUBG mobile India.”
The publication sent a set of questions surrounding the relaunch of the popular battle-royale game after Tencent Games was removed as the publisher of PUBG Mobile. In response, they received the above quoted reply, which gives rise to the doubt whether this falls under the jurisdiction of MeitY in the first place.
Having said that, Medianama notes that both Google and Apple will likely wait for an official nod from the government before admitting the Indianised version of the game back to their respective app stores.
Why is PUBG Mobile India Launch Getting Delayed
Tencent Games was the publisher of PUBG Mobile, but later the company withdrew as publisher and remained a stakeholder in KRAFTON. PUBG Mobile India is going to be a brand new game with an array of changes with the gameplay. The developers have changed the setting from an actual island for a battle royale to a training ground. The game will show the blood in green colour effect so as to discourage violence. The game title has also included the Playtime restriction, and supposedly it’s now more similar to the Chinese version of PUBG Mobile.
Even after numerous changes the game is facing delay in launch because they need approval from the Indian government to release the game in the country. It seems that the PUBG Indian team is requesting permission, but the spokesperson from MEITY didn’t verify this claim to us. We only got a confirmation that PUBG Mobile India has no permission to operate in India yet.
So far we only know that the ban on the game has not been reversed in India and it will likely not go live unless the Indian government grants the neccessary approvals.