The Indian government has banned PUBG Mobile, one of the most popular mobile games in the country, along with over 100 more apps with links to Chinese publishers.
PUBG Mobile has a touchy history in India specifically. Countless news reports of teens becoming incredibly addicted to the game have filled Indian media for over two year. The game has been blamed for bad exam results, and in some extreme stories, death.
The controversy around PUBG Mobile in India has prompted calls for the government to ban it in the past, by a student association worried about its effect on education.
On September 2, India’s Interior Ministry banned the game, along with 118 other apps, citing concerns around cybersecurity, as tensions with China rise.
They said the apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, Defence of India, Security of State and Public Order.”
The move follows India’s previous bans of other Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.
In a statement, the Indian government said: “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 of India. There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens.”
Other banned apps, via TechCrunch, include Baidu, WeChat Work, Tencent Weiyun, Rise of Kingdoms, APUS Launcher, Tencent Weiyun, VPN for TikTok, Mobile Taobao, Youko, Sina News and CamCard.
PUBG Mobile is notable though, because of how wildly popular it was in the country. In March 2019, police actually arrested ten students who were playing the game because the game had been banned in that specific region.
“Our team caught these youths red-handed. They were taken into custody after they were found playing the PUBG game,” said Police inspector Rohit Raval at the time.