Why, after spending almost a year in limbo since PUBG Mobile was banned after Indo-Chinese border skirmishes and then sought to make up for it by terminating Chinese company Tencent’s publishing rights to the game in India; after a promise to put $ 100 million in India and rename the game to remove “PUBG” from the title; Replacing blood counts with green spots to soothe … who exactly ?; after signing a contract with Microsoft Azure to proudly host user data in India; After all this, why would South Korean game developer Krafton Inc. have its supposedly non-Chinese app ping a server in China? ‘Cause that happened till last night per IGN India, after the relaunch of PUBG Mobile under the new avatar of Battlegrounds Mobile India. The company was able to release a patch on Monday evening, just one day after the problem became known, that stopped the pings.
We asked Krafton for a comment.
It is so easy not to ping Chinese servers! The internet is among the world’s most atmanirbhar, with hosting providers doing everything possible to ensure that their users’ data never touches Chinese soil by default. Why, even zoom got in trouble for routing data over Chinese servers last year, terrifying users even in countries like the US, which are not a country too prone to rant about data location. India not only belongs to this location-loving population of countries that are keen to ensure that their citizens’ data is only stored on hard drives in the country, but also has a hostile relationship with China.
Then, under all these circumstances that meant Krafton was already running on eggshells, why would the company … ping a server? China?! That’s not necessarily shameful – all apps ping servers around the world for different purposes – but Here, after this all this? Not only are the app pinging servers located in China, the servers they ping supposedly belong to China Mobile, the country’s largest telecommunications operator, and Tencent, the very same Chinese PUBG publisher that Krafton has allegedly disavowed. When you have all the time in the world bought by excessive public control over your connections to China, how hard is it just to make sure you’re not pinging servers in China?
As Battlegrounds Mobile India rolls out to more users, a user sniffed the app’s data packets and found the app pinging China Mobile servers in Beijing. The app also pinged Tencent’s anti-cheat and cloud computing services, although it’s not clear whether these were also located in China. Meenakashi Lekhi, Chair of the Joint Committee on Personal Data Protection Act, 2019, took note of the issue on Twitter and said she would contact the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, which last September approved the ban on PUBG Mobile announced – to investigate the problem.
– Meenakashi Lekhi (@M_Lekhi) June 20, 2021
PUBG Mobile / Battlegrounds Mobile India Prohibition Timeline
- August 2020: Krafton, the Korean company that owns PUBG and develops the game for PC and consoles, is meeting with Indian embassy officials to discuss the company’s plans in India.
- September 2020: The game is banned in India along with other apps developed in China. Shortly after, Tencent’s publishing rights to the game will be terminated and Krafton, the Korean company that owns the brand, will take over.
- November 2020: Krafton signs a pact with Microsoft to use Azure servers in India to support the game. Shortly thereafter, the company announced it would invest $ 100 million in its activities in the country and launch a renamed version of the game, PUBG Mobile India, with censored graphics. MEITY is silent about the relaunch and refuses to approve or explicitly block the move.
- May 2021: After months of inactivity and marketing campaigns put on hold, Krafton announces another renaming to the game Battlegrounds Mobile India, which retains much of PUBG’s core art and gameplay. No release date will be announced. Former MLA and Union Foreign Minister Ninong Ering urges the government to thwart the restart, a demand supported by members of both the BJP and Congress.
- June 2021: Following a pre-registration campaign in May, the game will begin rolling out to some users.