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Google, Apple pull down Krafton's BGMI game from app stores in India

Krafton had claimed earlier this month that BGMI had surpassed 100 million registered users in India.

July 29, 2022 / 10:55 AM IST

Google has suspended Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), a popular battle royale game from South Korea's gaming giant Krafton, from Play Store in India citing an order from the government.

In a statement to Moneycontrol, a Google spokesperson said: "On receipt of the order, following established process, we have notified the affected developer and have blocked access to the app that remained available on the Play Store in India"

While it is currently unclear why the government ordered to block BGMI, it comes just a year after Krafton launched the game in the country.

The app was also unavailable on Apple App Store from late evening of July 28 in India. The Korean game developer confirmed BGMI's removal from Google Play Store and the App Store to Moneycontrol.

"We are clarifying how BGMI was removed from Google Play store and the App store and will let you know once we get specific information" a Krafton spokesperson said in a statement. Moneycontrol has also reached out to Apple for a comment.

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This is the second instance that Krafton is facing a ban on a mobile game title in country after its flagship title PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) was banned in September 2020 along with 117 other China-linked apps, citing data security concerns.

Since then, Krafton cut ties with its publishing partner Tencent and took over all publishing responsibilities within the country. It also setup a subsidiary in India and pledged to invest $100 million in the country's local video game, esports, entertainment in November 2020.

In July last year, the company launched BGMI, an India-specific version of PUBG Mobile that was developed and published by Krafton, with the assurance to store data locally and adhere to the Indian government laws for data security.

This was the only app which had made a comeback among the 300-odd apps that were banned by the government in the past couple of years, albeit in a completely new avatar.

Earlier this month, Krafton had claimed that BGMI has surpassed 100 million registered users in India. It had clocked about $33 million in app spend from July 2021-July 2022, according to estimates by app intelligence firm Sensor Tower shared with Moneycontrol.

Over the past year, the company has also backed several Indian startups including mobile game development studios Nautilus Mobile and Lila Games, game streaming platform Loco, esports firm Nodwin Gaming, Indian language storytelling platform Pratilipi, audio content platform Kuku FM and audio romance and friend discovery startup FRND.

The ban also comes few months after rival Garena's battle royale game Free Fire was banned along with 53 other China-linked apps under section 69A of the Information Technology Act on February 14, citing security concerns. Garena is the gaming arm of the Singapore-based tech conglomerate Sea Limited.
Vikas SN
first published: Jul 28, 2022 09:42 pm
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