Google has pulled the popular battle royale game Battlegrounds Mobile India, also known as BGMI, an Indian version of popular battle royale game PUBG from Play Store in India after a government order, a year after developer Krafton relaunched the app with Indian customisation.
To relaunch the game, the South Korean game developer Krafton has incorporated a local company and entered a storage pact with Microsoft in a bid to assure data safety.
Krafton said it had cut ties with its publishing partner Tencent and pledged to invest $100 million in India’s gaming. PUBG mobile was earlier distributed in India by Krafton.
India banned several apps in 2020 linked to China after border skirmishes. BGMI is the only major app to have returned in a different avatar.
The South Korean company also made investments in a number of Indian startups including Nodwin Gaming, Loco, Pratilipi and Kuku FM in the past one and a half years.
The South Korean-headquartered firm recently said that over 100 million users had signed up for the game in India in the past one year since launch. According to a analytics firm Sensor Tower, Battlegrounds Mobile India had amassed over 16.5 million monthly active users in the country.
The game developer also launched a “Game Responsibly” campaign to encourage gamers to take a pledge of taking care of themselves and their squad mates’ mental health as they play on the Battlegrounds.
While it is unclear why the Indian government had ordered to block Battlegrounds Mobile India, New State Mobile another remodelled version of PUBG is still available for download on both PlayStore and App Store. The New State game also developed by Krafton is same as PUBG and BGMI but is set in 2051 and offers better experience in terms of graphics, gunplay.
It is worth noting that bans may not necessarily work. In 2021, PUBG mobile continued to be at 2nd spot in monthly active users despite a ban suggesting users use of VPNs and other modes to access the popular battle royale game. India is the among the most mobile-first markets in the world with some of the highest daily time spent in apps.