Following a court ruling, Google has removed the well-liked battle royale game Battlegrounds Mobile India, often known as BGMI, from the Indian Play Store one year after creator Krafton released the app in response to the South Asian market’s ban on its other related game, PUBG. Additionally, the BGMI game has been removed from the local Apple App Store.
The Android-maker promptly following the story’s publication verified the development. A Google representative told TechCrunch that after receiving the injunction, the company alerted the impacted developer and stopped access to the app that was still available in India on the Play Store.
According to a source with intimate knowledge of the situation who spoke to TechCrunch on Thursday evening, Krafton delisted the app from the Apple App Store shortly after Google removed it from the Play Store. Requests for comment from the iPhone manufacturer were not answered. A spokesman for Krafton acknowledged the delisting and stated that the business was looking for more information. On Friday, Krafton’s stock fell almost 9% before somewhat recovering.
The revelation comes in the wake of escalating hostilities between India and China, two nuclear-armed neighbours who have been at odds particularly since fatal clashes along their shared Himalayan border in 2020. Since then, India has responded to the action by outlawing more than 300 Chinese-linked apps, including PUBG and TikTok, both of which ranked India as its most popular overseas user base. The only software that returned was Krafton’s PUBG, even though it had an entirely new look, out of the several apps that New Delhi had banned in the nation.
In addition to promising to spend $100 million in India’s gaming industry, Krafton said that it has severed connections with its publishing partner Tencent, who is also a significant investor in the company. In the previous 1.5 years, Krafton has supported a number of Indian businesses, including Nodwin Gaming, Loco, Pratilipi, and Kuku FM. Earlier this week, Krafton told TechCrunch that it expected its investment in India to reach $140 million by next month. This Monday, the South Korean-based company reported that in the year after the game’s launch, over 100 million users in India have registered for it. Battlegrounds Mobile India had over 16.5 million monthly active users in the nation, according to Sensor Tower.
Why the Indian government had instructed to block Battlegrounds Mobile India was unknown. When banning other apps, New Delhi has claimed concerns about national security. (Reuters reported Friday that India has banned BGMI under section 69A of local IT law.) A local media report from last month claimed that a child had killed his mother while playing the game, though many have questioned the report’s veracity. This month, the study made it to the country’s parliament and quickly earned widespread appeal on social media. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s junior minister of information technology, stated last week that the matter was being looked at by law enforcement.
Chinese phone manufacturers Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo’s local offices have recently been searched by Indian authorities, who have accused them of tax evasion. China’s embassy in India expressed displeasure with Indian authorities earlier this month for conducting “frequent investigations” into the local branches of the phonemakers and cautioned that such actions “impede the improvement of [the] business environment” in India and “chill the confidence and willingness” of other foreign businesses to make investments and conduct operations in the South Asian country. BGMI and PUBG are two distinct games, according to Krafton, who also claimed that the company had put safeguards in place to deal with any misuse of its games, such as enforcing a time limit on usage and login authentication.
“Given how well-liked the game is, these problems are to be expected. These are extreme cases, but we don’t know the specifics of the fraud or how it was carried out. In an interview with TechCrunch earlier this week, Sean Hyunil Sohn, CEO of Krafton India, said, “We always try to ensure a safe gameplay experience for consumers.
“The government does not interfere in which apps may operate and which cannot,” he continued. They step in to address issues with privacy and digital security, and BGMI abides by all rules. PUBG and BGMI are two different games, according to MeitY (the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology),” he continued. According to Hyunil Sohn, the business was willing to contribute an additional $100 million or more to the Indian gaming industry this year.