Is PUBG a Chinese App? Indians Are Searching for Who Owns Battle Royale Game after Ban

Is PUBG a Chinese a app? The answer is both yes and no | Image credit: Reuters/Twitter

Is PUBG a Chinese a app? The answer is both yes and no | Image credit: Reuters/Twitter

Within just an hour of its announcement, PUBG had received over 500 search hits on Google. And one of the most searched related queries seemed to be about who owned PUBG.

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  • Last Updated: September 2, 2020, 7:26 PM IST

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The inevitable has happened. After TikTok, PUBG has finally been in India along with 117 other Chinese apps.

The central government on Wednesday banned 118 Chinese mobile apps, including the popular game PUBG. The apps have been banned by the Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology as “they are engaged in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.


The ban expectedly brought forth a sea of reactions and questions among fans of “Chicken Dinner” in India, many of whom took solace on Google to find out more about the app.

Within just an hour of its announcement, PUBG had received over 500 search hits on Google. And one of the most searched related queries seemed to be about who owned PUBG. Searches for terms like ‘PUBG owner’ and related queries such as ‘Who owned PUBG’ and ‘PUBG Owner Country’ also spiked.

Many on Twitter also wondered if PUBG even qualified as a Chinese app.

But why are so many people searching on who owns PUBG?

The answer lies in its complex origin story.

A battle royale game that promises the winner a highly coveted Chicken dinner, The PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or PUBG was developed by a man named Brendan Greene, who hails from Ireland. Greene created the desktop version of PUBG which was developed by a South Korean gaming company named Bluehole.

In 2017, China reportedly was on the verge of banning the game, claiming it was too violent and bloody and went against the cultural values of the country. In fact, the government offered PUBG lovers a state-approved alternative of the game, Force for Peace.

This is where the Chinese company Tencent stepped in.

Tencent Games, which was part of Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings, offered to develop a mobile version of the game, PUBG Mobile, after changing the format a bit. Soon after the India-China face off, Indians also googled to see how much of PUBG Tencent actually owns, in an attempt to understand exactly how Chinese the game is. For those wondering, Tencent has a 10% stakehold in Bluehole.

Tencent had rolled out a preliminary version of the game to test it on players and BBC reports that already 70 million people had gotten their hands on it. Although PUBG Mobile was a hit in China, Tencent did not get approval from the government.

Consequently, PUBG Mobile was banned in China as the government believed it could have adverse impacts on the youth and even distract people from focusing on their careers.

In India, however, people welcomed the game with open arms. Soon enough, that seemed to be all that people talked about! In 2018, a survey carried out by Quartz showed that 62% of the respondents out of over 1,000 individuals said that they were hooked to the game. The survey also showed that the main reason why Indians loved PUBG was that it was better than other available games while some respondents admitted that they decided to give the game a try because everyone was talking about it.

But is PUBG a Chinese app?

The answer is both yes and no. While it was initially developed by a South Korean company, the Chinese firm Tencent Games co-developed a the mobile version of the game. Both Bluehole and Tencent share profits from the sale of the game as per a prerequisite licensing agreement.

Tencent is also the second-biggest shareholder at the South Korean Bluehole.

Looks like PUBG players would just have to do with Call of Duty for now.


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