The answer involves an understanding of the complex machinations that led to the mobile game’s development.

A mobile phone with Pubg logo okay on it
news App ban Thursday, September 03, 2020 - 11:13

The ban on PUBG Mobile in India has created a frenzy among gamers in the country. Along with 117 other Chinese-owned apps, the government of India announced the widespread ban on Wednesday. This comes after the government had earlier banned other Chinese apps, including TikTok.

But while some searched for alternative multiplayer mobile games, others asked another question — Is PUBG (PlayerUnknown Battleground) actually a Chinese app? And who owns it? 

The answer involves an understanding of the complex machinations that led to the mobile game’s development. 

PUBG was created and conceptualised by Irish game developer Brendan Greene. He went on to develop the game as creative director along PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of Bluehole, a South Korean gaming company. It was first released in 2017, and the game’s success was instant, capturing millions of players around the world. 

The massive draw of the game led to the development of a mobile version of PUBG, in a partnership between Tencent Games, which comes under Chinese umbrella company Tencent Holdings, and Bluehole’s PUBG Corporation. The mobile version for Android and iOS was released in 2018. In India too, this was a huge success and it's estimated that there were 33 to 50 million active players in the country as of 2019. 

The mobile game however was banned in China after Tencent failed to receive approval from the country due to the violent nature of the game and the effect it may have on its massive young audience. 

This reportedly means that PUBG Mobile, while coded by a Chinese firm, is not entirely controlled by it. The mobile game was created after modifying the desktop version of it. It should be noted that Tencent, which is the second-biggest shareholder at Bluehole, has a 11.5% stake in the south Korean company.

The answer is ultimately twofold as it was co-developed by a South Korean company and a Chinese company. So while the game was developed by a South Korean company, the mobile version was coded by a Chinese company through Tencent Games. Additionally, both Bluehole and Tencent share profits from the game, through their licensing agreement. 

Currently, there are PC, XBox, Playstation and mobile versions for Android and iOS of the game.

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