An Indian government source told Reuters on Friday that India’s authorities stopped access to Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), a well-known battle-royale type game from the South Korean game production company Krafton, because of concern for data sharing and mining in China.
After being prohibited in the nation for over two years, PUBG Mobile has now been blocked. The government of India may, among other reasons, obstruct public access to content under Section 69A of the IT Act. Orders made in accordance with this clause are often of a confidential nature.
Invoking a clause it has used since 2020 to ban a number of other Chinese apps due to national security concerns, New Delhi used its authority under India’s IT law to block Battlegrounds Mobile India, a game from South Korean company Krafton that is backed by China’s Tencent, according to a government official and another source with direct knowledge.
The government is permitted to obstruct public access to content under Section 69A of the IT Act for a variety of reasons, including the protection of national security. Orders made in accordance with this clause are often of a confidential nature.
The blocking has not been made known to the public by the Indian government. However, as of Thursday evening in India, the software had been taken down from Apple’s App Store and Alphabet’s Google Play store.
According to Prahar president Abhay Mishra, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) and nonprofit Prahar had frequently requested that the government look into the “China influence” of the BGMI. The SJM is Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s business arm.
The BGMI was identical to the previous PUBG, with Tencent still in control of it in the background, Mishra continued.
Popular Indian gamers responded angrily to the restriction online on Twitter and YouTube.
Abhijeet Andhare, who has more than 92,000 followers on Twitter, wrote: “I hope our government knows that thousands of esports athletes and content creators and their lives is depending on BGMI.”
Earlier today, Krafton said, “We are clarifying how BGMI was removed from Google Play store and the App store and will let you know soon we acquire specific information.
A Google representative has verified that a government order led to the takedown of Battlegrounds Mobile in India. “Following established procedure, we notified the impacted developer upon receiving the injunction and restricted access to the software that was still offered on the Indian Play Store. The order’s specifics are awaited.
Here is how the Indian esports community reacted when BGMI was removed from the Apple and Google app stores.
“The government has not yet released an official statement explaining why the game was taken down from the Play Store and App Store.
We hope that this disagreement, which is between the publisher and the government, can be settled quickly. It’s a wait-and-see period for ESPL before making any further choices, “Esports Premier League Director Vishwalok Nath stated.
“All significant stakeholders, including tournament organizers, esports teams, coaches, support staff, and most crucially, athletes, will undoubtedly suffer as a result of the BGMI BAN.
Revenant Esports will continue to support our BGMI Athletes and see to it that they utilize our training space in order to produce content and experiment with various video games.
That being said, the entire industry will suffer, but Revenant was established during the first phase of the Ban, and we have always valued diversification. As a result, we still have rosters competing in Apex Legends, which previously represented the SEA region in the ALGS Playoffs in Stockholm, Pokémon Unite, Call of Duty Mobile, and the World Championship regional playoffs, and Valorant the Gathering.
In the past eight months, we have represented our area more than three times as the youngest squad. We have always valued diversity and will continue to do so, and we are confident that we can help our BGMI athletes through these difficult times “stated Revenant Esports’ founder and CEO, Rohit Jagasia.
“All we know is that these events are occurring more frequently every year and without any warning. Recent events include the sudden banning of a large number of China-based apps and the red-flagging of apps like Free Fire without any previous notice.
Additionally, the game had once again come under the government’s scrutiny and been labeled as “unsafe for young adults” following the recent incidence of a boy killing his mother over a BGMI fight.
In the past, similar disputes and game-related harms have occurred, “explained Alpha Zegus’ Director of Marketing, Rohit Agarwal, the company’s creator.
Considering Krafton had taken nearly all reasonable efforts to publish the game within established criteria, the government has not yet made an official statement regarding the reasons for the ban, but by this point, we have realized that mobile games are growing more unexpected by the day.
Instead of outright banning the games, I hope a regulatory agency steps in to oversee them over time “Agarwal continued.