According to TechCrunch, the massively popular battle royale game PUBG Mobile is coming back to India after being banned in September 2020. The game has a new name, Battlegrounds Mobile India, and several updates to the game itself, such as green blood and a new account system, are available in early access on Google’s Play Store.
PUBG Mobile, along with hundreds of other apps, was first prohibited due to ties to Chinese corporations, in this case, Tencent, a major video game investor. PUBG Studio (owned by the bigger South Korean company Krafton) said at the time of the ban that it would relaunch in the region with new features tailored for Indian gamers, such as changing the game’s hue to blood and presenting it expressly as a “virtual simulation training field.”
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Beyond changed bodily fluids (part of a long tradition of limiting representations of violence in games) and reminders that the game isn’t real, Battlegrounds appears to be identical to PUBG Mobile, according to TechCrunch. There appears to be a simple way to transfer your account from the previous game to the new one.
It’s possible that the truly significant changes will be less noticeable. The Indian government’s main argument for the ban was that it was concerned about where users’ data was being transmitted, and it didn’t want it routed to areas outside of India.
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PUBG Studio announced it was cutting relations with Tencent in India and relocating the game’s hosting to Microsoft Azure data centers in the nation ahead of its planned relaunch, which may have remedied the problem long before any green blood arrived.