PUBG Corporation Ends Its Publishing Ties With Tencent Games

PUBG Corporation decided to cut-off its publishing ties with the Chinese gaming company Tencent Games. The move of the South Korean company comes after its mobile game PUBG was banned from India last week. Along with this, the company said that it is resolving its issue with the Government of India and hopefully will reverse its ban.

“PUBG Corporation fully understands and respects the measures taken by the government as the privacy and security of player data is a top priority for the company. It hopes to work hand-in-hand with the Indian government to find a solution that will allow gamers to once again drop into the battlegrounds while being fully compliant with Indian laws and regulations,” the company said in a blog post.

 The mobile game developer company said that it is monitoring the app ban situation around in India. Recently, the Indian government banned 118 Chinese apps over privacy and security issues in last week. Moreover, TikTok and the other five Chinese apps were banned on similar grounds in June. However, the ban was not just a result of the privacy and security issues but is due to the geopolitical tensions between the two economies.

PUBG Mobile is the smartphone version of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), a game which is available on both iOS and Play store. Prior to the ban, the game had approximately 40 Million users in India. The gaming company is the subsidiary of Bluehole Games. According to the data reported on Livemint, the battle royal game made over USD 100 Million from its in-app purchases in 2019. Its revenue was higher than popular apps such as Tinder and Netflix, as per the industry experts.

In the blog post, the company noted that “It has seen an overwhelming amount of support for the game from the country’s player base and would like to thank the community for their passion and enthusiasm.” However, withdrawing the publishing rights from Tencent Games might not resolve the matter as it appears that Tencent has been involved in the development of PUBG Titles which can complicate the matter. After the ban of 118 apps, Tencent had reportedly lost USD 34 Billion in market valuation.

PUBG Corporation said in a statement that they are committed to providing ubiquitous gaming experience and is exploring various ways to engage with its community through various “region-based activities, including esports and community events.”

“While publishing duties could go to PUBG Corp, will Tencent still handle development of the game? If so, wouldn’t that still be in violation of the way data privacy laws here in India work? This move appears to be a bandaid solution if Tencent still develops the game, tweeted Rishi Alwani, an analyst of the Indian gaming market.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Chinese embassy Ji Rong expresses that the steps taken from the Indian government are unfair. “We urge the Indian government to rectify the discriminatory practices violating WTO rules and provide an open, fair, and impartial business environment for all market players from various countries including China. The Chinese government has always required Chinese overseas companies to abide by international rules and operate in compliance with laws and regulations,” he said.