The Indian government banned PUBG Mobile in 2020 along with 117 other Chinese apps. The following year, parent company Krafton introduced Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) in the country, a tamer version of the super popular battle royale.
Late evening on July 27, BGMI disappeared from both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. According to reports, this happened due to a government order, as sources aware of the development said. Krafton acknowledged the issues and said in a statement that it was trying to clarify how BGMI was removed from the app stores and would soon share more information.
Google released a statement on the removal and said that the game was removed “following established process” after it received an order. The tech giant added that the affected developer (Krafton) has been notified and access to the app (BGMI) has been blocked on the Play Store.
So, what exactly happened? Why has BGMI been delisted?
The government is yet to officially share any information about why the game has been delisted. However, this delisting comes a month after a 16-year-old boy allegedly shot his mother because she was trying to stop him from playing online games like PUBG. This case of shooting came up in the ongoing Parliament session and the government said that the Ministry of Home Affiars (MHA) was looking into the issue of banned apps appearing in new avatars, but with pretty much the same functionality.
Rajya Sabha MP V Vijayasai Reddy asked the IT Ministry last week if it was taking any action against apps like PUBG that have allegedly incited violence and made children commit crimes when they were “restrained from playing the game”.
Rajeev Chandrashekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & IT, responded to Reddy’s query and said that his ministry (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) had received various reports and complaints about banned apps appearing in new avatars with similar sounding names or as rebranded versions with similar functionality as its original avatar.
Chandrashekhar added that all these complaints have been forwarded to the MHA for examination and that MeitY would follow the due process as defined in the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.
The minister also acknowledged the shooting incident and added that it was a matter of investigation but PUBG was banned by MeitY in 2020 and the game has not been available in India since.
This is the second time BGMI has been delisted from the app stores in India after PUBG Mobile was banned in 2020. Chinese internet company Tencent was PUBG Mobile’s publisher in India when the game got banned by MeitY. It was a part of a list of 118 apps believe to be made by Chinese companies and it was alleged that these apps were engaged in activities that were “prejudicial” to India’s sovereignty, integrity, defence, security, public order.
Just before PUBG Mobile was relaunched as BGMI in India in 2021, PUBG Corporation took Tencent Games off as the battle royale’s publisher in India.
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