BGMI disappears from Google Play Store and Apple App Store right after Krafton reaffirms commitment to India
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for MeitY, had earlier said that law authorities were investigating PUBG Mobile's availability in India despite the ban in 2020.
Battlegrounds Mobile India, popularly known as BGMI, is now no longer available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Yes, you’ve read that right. Does that mean the game has been banned, just like its predecessor PUBG Mobile? Does that mean players can no longer play the game anymore? And above all, why has the game been removed from the Play Store and App Store in the first place? We know you must be asking these questions. Here is everything you need to know about this latest development around BGMI in India.
Krafton releases official statement about BGMI's removal
The Government of India has not shared the formal reason behind this move. In the meantime, we reached out to Krafton, the publisher behind BGMI for a statement to clear the air. A Krafton representative told India Today Gaming, "We are clarifying how BGMI was removed from the Google Play store and the App store and will let you know once we get specific information."
Recent developments around BGMI
This move comes just days after Krafton reaffirmed its commitment to India. The company has invested about $100 million in the Indian market. Since the launch of BGMI in 2021, the game has been equated with the previously banned title PUBG Mobile on multiple administrative platforms. The government banned PUBG Mobile back in 2020 due to data security and user data privacy reasons. These games and other Battle Royale titles have also been incorrectly linked with addiction, violence, and other negative effects on children and youth. The removal of BGMI from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store comes just weeks after a formal discussion in the parliament and a murder case from Lucknow that shook the nation.
Revisiting the Lucknow case, news reports outlined that a 16-year-old boy murdered his mother. In the beginning, the investigation stated that the boy committed the crime after he got angry with his mother when she tried to stop him from playing PUBG. However, subsequent reports noted that the police made up the entire story about PUBG being the reason behind the murder. According to a report from India Today, a family member revealed that they are not satisfied with the investigation. The family further said that the police gave them "no other option but to accept" the PUBG angle.
Since then, the tragedy and the discourse around it found their way into Parliament, where the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) was questioned. The highlight remains how a banned game, PUBG, continues to be available in the country. MeitY has given an assurance that it is currently investigating the case.
Various authorities, NGOs, and other organizations, including government representatives have sought a ban on BGMI in the past. Some have claimed the involvement of Chinese companies. Some others continue to claim that the game is no different than PUBG or Free Fire, in the context of harmful effects. It should be noted that Tencent, the Chinese company in question is not associated with BGMI. BGMI was created and is fully operated by Korean company Krafton while complying with the local regulations of India.
At the time of writing the article, BGMI is available on smartphones that had installed the game before the removal. Krafton's New State Mobile also continues to be available on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. We’ll keep the article updated as new statements from Krafton, the government, or other stakeholders roll in.