BGMI pulled from app stores

Krafton, the South Korean gaming studio that has created the game, said it is working with authorities to sort out any issues

e4m by Shantanu David
Published: Jul 29, 2022 6:22 PM  | 3 min read

Popular mobile game BGMI, created by South Korean gaming studio Krafton, has been pulled from Android and Apple app stores. 

While the Indian government and Apple are yet to say anything about the move, Krafton has said it is working with authorities to sort out any issues.  Google, meanwhile, has merely said it has pulled the game off the Android store as per government instructions. However, the game is still working on the phones of those who already had the app installed. Those who already had the game installed reported having to log in to their accounts all over again.

BGMI is the retooling of PUBG, one of the most widely played mobile games globally, which had been ejected from Indian markets as part of the government’s crackdown on China-based apps. BGMI was then created for the Indian market and released in July 2021. It had more than 100 million registered users in July 2022.

Reacting to the development, Rohit Agarwal, Founder & Director, Alpha Zegus, says, “Such occurrences are becoming more common by the year. Not very long ago, we saw a wave of China-based apps getting banned overnight, and the likes of Free Fire getting the red flag. 

The game has come under government radar because of incidents of violence related to it. It has  marked unsafe for young adults.” 

Jay Sayta, a technology and gaming lawyer, meanwhile, argues that the move will only dampen investor sentiments.

According to Shivam Rao, Co-Founder, Trinity Gaming India, which is a marketing partner to BGMI, the ban of BGMI is very unfortunate for the gaming community, and will impact the livelihoods and income of gamers and the esports talent in the industry.

“As the marketing partners for BGMI, we were pleased to notice the positive outcome in the industry with the birth of BGMI last year. But now, with this ban, the options for players and gamers will reduce drastically. If the ban decision holds, we will probably see a decline in the number of gamers and its communities across India,” says Rao, adding that the decision has come when India is going to debut in the Commonwealth Games at Birmingham, UK. “It will certainly impact discussions and participation of gamers and the overall Indian esports ecosystem,” he mentioned.

The ban move comes on the heels of Krafton having invested nearly 100 million USD.

Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF), and Vishwalok Nath, Director, Esports Premier League, who represent two of the biggest professional esports and gaming leagues in the country still caution against panicking.

Nath says, "We are yet to receive an official statement from the government on the reason behind the removal of the game from the Play Store and App Store. This is between the publisher and the government and we hope this issue will be resolved soon. For ESPL, it's a wait-and-watch time to take further decisions.”

Suji agrees saying that it is still too early to comment and we should wait for the official statement from the government or the publisher to know more about this matter. “India is paving its path to becoming a multi-sport nation where every sport is getting the right visibility, audience and investment to grow. We have to reflect the same in esports where we need to start giving exposure to multi esports titles and not limited to one,” he concludes.

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