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‘Battlegrounds Mobile India’ ban: Krafton says it’s communicating with authorities to ‘resolve the issues’
Fans of "Battlegrounds Mobile India," simply known as BGMI, are facing yet another uncertainty after the popular battle-royale mobile game was reportedly banned by the Indian government. But its developer, Krafton, assured players it is working with authorities to reinstate the game on digital stores.
Players noticed that BGMI became unavailable from Google Play Store and Apple App Store in India last Thursday. The relevant government agencies have yet to explicitly announce if access to the app had been banned. But esports personality Abhijeet Andhare (via TalkEsport) shared a reported statement from Sean Hyunil Sohn, Krafton's head of India division.
"We have always been compliant with all laws and regulations in India including data protection laws and regulations and will continue abiding by them," Hyunil Sohn said. "We have been working hard to communicate our sincerity with the concerned authorities and resolve the issues. We kindly request you to wait to hear from us."
A Google representative confirmed to Reuters that the game's removal from Play Store was done following an order from the government. The same report also cited two sources that claimed BGMI had been essentially banned in India under section 69A of the country's Information Technology Act. India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology invoked the same law to ban hundreds of mobile apps in 2020 -- including the original "PUBG Mobile" -- citing national security concerns.
The wave of bans in 2020 also happened amid India and China's tense relations due to Himalayan border disputes. "This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace," the government said in an official announcement at the time.
"PUBG Mobile" is published by Chinese video game giant Tencent for global markets. But after the 2020 ban, South Korea-based Krafton took over and introduced the game titled "Battlegrounds Mobile India." Krafton established it as a new game exclusively for players in India.
Hyunil Sohn maintained in a statement to TechCrunch that BGMI is a different game from PUBG. "[Indian authorities] intervene in digital security and privacy concerns, and BGMI complies with all guidelines," Hyunil Sohn told the publication.
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