Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), a game similar to the hit combat mobile game PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG), has been taken down from Google and Apple app stores in India after a government order. Two years ago, India banned PUBG.
BGMI’s developers, Krafton and Google, confirmed that BGMI had been suspended. Here’s why the game has been removed and what the developers have to say about it.
Why has BGMI been removed?
In June, a 16-year-old boy in Lucknow allegedly shot his mother dead for scolding him about playing BGMI. The incident renewed a debate about the violence in such games and was also raised in the parliament. Reacting to it, the government said it would initiate action against such apps.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State for Electronics & IT, said: “There are various reports and grievances received in Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), conveying that apps that were blocked are appearing with new avatar by using similar sounding names or rebranded with the same functionality. All such reports and grievances have been forwarded to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the requesting agency, for examination. MeitY follows the due process as defined in the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.”
The ban could also be connected to BGMI’s link to China. While the app is published by South Korea-based Krafton, China’s Tencent Holdings has a 13.6% stake in the company through its subsidiary Image Frame Investment.
A report by Reuters said BGMI has been banned under Section 69A of the IT Act, the same section earlier used to ban PUBG.
The provision allows the government to block public access to apps and websites in the interest of national security.
What did Krafton say about the ban?
Krafton confirmed the app had been removed and said it was working to bring it back. “We are clarifying how BGMI was removed from Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store and will let you know once we get specific information.”
“At Krafton, the security and privacy of our user data are of utmost importance to us. We have always been compliant with all the laws and regulations in India, including data protection laws and regulations, and will continue abiding by them,” the company added.
“On receipt of the order, following the established process, we have notified the affected developer and have blocked access to the app that remained available on Play Store in India,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
Why was PUBG banned in India?
PUBG, published by Tencent Games, was banned in India in 2020, along with over 100 other apps with links to China. Other apps that were suspended included WeChat and TikTok. The government action came amid heightened border tensions between India and China following the Galwan Valley clashes.