India continued its bans on popular apps this week by banning many games including PUBG Mobile, a game that ranks as one of the most popular app products in the country. The ban of PUBG Mobile and other games follows India’s recent ban of apps like TikTok and WeChat which shows a trend of targeting apps based out of China. India’s PUBG Mobile ban will affect not only the millions of users who had it installed but also the country’s competitive and entertainment scenes involving esports and streaming.
In a statement shared by India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the government body suggested that the apps targeted in the latest wave of bans were security issues for the country. The statement cited a “strong chorus in the public space” to take action against apps that are considered security concerns.
“The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about 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 statement said. “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.”
Attached to the statement was a list of all the apps banned in the latest actions. A total of 118 different apps were targeted including games like PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite, AFK Arena, Arena of Valor, and essentially all of NetEase’s games like Marvel Super War.
My mini thread on the Indian government banning PUBG Mobile and other mobile games / apps today
The game was downloaded nearly 200m times in India and is the top grossing title of all time in the country
It also had a growing esports / streamer scene
Overall negative impact https://t.co/0hRtsGKTjA— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) September 2, 2020
The difference is that Activision is the publisher of the game, hence why it hasn't been included in these lists so far.
The common trend so far seems to be Chinese dev + publisher.
COD Mobile may be looked at in the future, but not now. https://t.co/FfdoXc4zNs— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) September 2, 2020
Niko Partners senior analyst Daniel Ahmad pointed out a trend in the bans that showed apps targeted having both Chinese developers and publishers. COD Mobile, for that reason, appears to be safe for now.