Nizamabad MP Arvind Dharmapuri has sent a letter to the IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on June 2 regarding the relaunch of the banned PUBG Mobile game as Battlegrounds Mobile India. He has written to the IT ministry to draw attention towards the security issues to user data in the new Battlegrounds Mobile India. Mr. Dharmapuri has also said that he had received multiple representations against this game with several issues being brought forward to his attention which may be of serious nature and need to be examined by the government on priority.
Earlier Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi spoke about the need to support India’s emerging gaming industry and encourage the development of indigenous games that emphasize on the Indian culture and history which can be done by organizing hackathons for online gaming platforms. This has resulted in expansion of the Indian gaming industry in recent times but last year the Government had banned over 200 mobile apps with Chinese origin due to threat to protection and security of user data of the Indian citizens as there were some foreign companies backed by Chinese investments who had close ties to CCP. As a result, those companies are now aiming at Indian investments.
As per the recent reports, Krafton will store the date for Battlegrounds in Singapore and India. This will lead to a change in the service and legal requirements as the game will be governed by the laws of the Republic of Korea and all lawsuits related to the terms of the game will be governed by the laws of the Republic of Korea.
Additionally, it is to be noted that Battlegrounds Mobile India is being marketed as an Indian game – developed only for India. It is alleged that Krafton is allegedly controlled by Chinese company Tencent and given that Tencent has a huge stake in Krafton, it will be bound to transfer the user data according to the contract signed between them; the issue that the minister wants to highlight. He has requested the Union Minister of IT ministry to ask Krafton to share its investment and shareholder agreement with Tencent for government scrutiny so that any further suspicion or confusion can be removed.
These issues have led to several countries including all the members of the Quad alliance examining Tencent investment in firms in their country as national security concerns. It is evident that the relaunch is a way to avoid scrutiny and lawsuits and hence the suspicions are also growing with time. Several other politicians like Arunachal MLA had asked for a ban on the launch of the new game previously and had faced backlash by the Chinese media.