Battlegrounds Mobile India, more popularly known as BGMI is currently banned in India following a government order last month. The Indian government hasn’t officially given a reason for its decision to block BGMI from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store in India but has reigned in the same Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000 which it used to ban over 273 mobile apps since 2020 on grounds that these apps were engaged in activities prejudicial to the interests of India. Interestingly, the number of apps banned could be more since Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar told the Parliament earlier this month that his ministry has banned 348 mobile apps, some of which are developed or have links to China.
Meanwhile, during its Q2 earnings call Krafton CEO Bae Dong-geun mentioned how India has played a major role in the growth of mobile gaming with BGMI garnering over 100 million downloads. This is quite a significant number of users especially since it was its second year of operations in India. In retrospect, PUBG Mobile at the time of its ban in India had over 180 million install base
“We fully respect and understand the Indian government’s concern and as we have been directly running the service based on stringent data security standards and monitoring. We will closely cooperate with the authorities to find ways for the users in India to keep enjoying BGMI,” said Bae Dong-geun on the BGMI ban in India.
Krafton has also secured partnerships with local esports and gaming companies, and streaming services and has invested around 100 million USD till Q2 2022. In June 2022, Krafton hosted the BGMI Master Series which was broadcasted for the first time on Indian television attracting over 24 million viewers.
As per a report by TechCrunchsome gaming companies including Godspeed Games, Lucid Labs, and Outlier Games have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling the ban on Battlegrounds Mobile India an unfortunate event and have demanded uniform and fair treatment for all games in India. It remains to be seen how and when BGMI gets reinstated in India but it’s heartening to see that the Indian gaming community isn’t staying silent.