New Delhi used India’s IT law to block Battlegrounds Mobile India, a game by South Korean company Crafton. Which is backed by China’s Tencent. For this, the government has resorted to a provision, which was implemented from 2020 to ban many other Chinese apps due to national security concerns. A government official and another source with direct links to the incident told Reuters.
Section 69A of the IT Act allows the government to block public access to content in the interest of national security and for certain other reasons. Orders issued under the section are generally confidential.
The Indian government has not publicly announced the blocking. But the app was removed from the Google Play store and Apple App Store in India till Thursday evening.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) and non-profit Prahar had repeatedly asked the government to investigate the “China influence” of BGMI, Prahar president Abhay Mishra told Reuters. SJM is the economic wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
“In the so-called new avatar, BGMI was no different from its previous version of PUBG, with Tencent still controlling it from the background,” Mishra said.
The ban received strong online reactions from popular gamers in India on Twitter and YouTube.
Abhijit Andhare, a Twitter user with over 92,000 followers, tweeted: “I hope our government understands that thousands of athletes and content creators and their lives depend on BGMI.”
Krafton told Ch Play today “We’re clarifying how BGMI was removed from the Google Play Store and App Store and will let you know once we have specifics.”
A Google spokesperson has confirmed that the removal of Battlegrounds Mobile India was the result of a government order. “Upon receipt of the order, following the established process, we have notified the affected developer and blocked access to the app available on the Play Store in India,” the spokesperson told Ch Play.
The Indian eSports industry has responded to Apple and Google blocking BGMI from the App Store.
Vishwalok Nath, director of eSports Premier League, said “We are yet to receive an official statement from the government on the reason behind the removal of the game from the Play Store and App Store. It is between the publisher and the government and we hope to address this issue soon.” It will only be resolved. It is time for ESPL to wait for further decisions.”
Rohit Jagasia, Founder and CEO, Revenant Esports, said, “The BGMI ban will certainly come as a blow to all key stakeholders such as tournament organizations, eSports teams, coaches, support staff and most importantly athletes. However, at Revenant eSports, we are yet to Will also support our BGMI athletes and make sure they can use our training center to create content and try their hand at different games. Supposedly this will come as a blow to the entire industry, but before the ban to Revenant Created during our tenure and we have always believed in diversification, we still have players competing in Pokémon Unite, who will represent India at the World Championship in London. [इसके अलावा] Call of Duty Mobile, which will play the regional playoffs for the World Championship, Apex Legends who previously represented the SEA region in the ALGS playoffs in Stockholm. We have been the youngest team to represent our region 3 times in 8 months. We have always believed in diversity in fiction and will continue to do so, we look forward to supporting our BGMI athletes during these trying times.”
Rohit Agarwal, founder and director of marketing firm Alpha Zegus, said, “We all know that such incidents are becoming more common year after year, and are happening without any foresight. Not too long ago, we saw China- Seen a wave of based apps getting banned overnight, and also seen red flags like Free Fire – all happening without any prior warning. Plus, recently a guy killed his mother over a BGMI argument. With the incident, the game was again on the government’s radar and was marked “unsafe for young adults”. Similar incidents of debate and harm caused by the game have occurred in the past.”
He added, “The government has yet to issue an official statement regarding the rationale behind the ban (given that Crafton has taken almost all possible precautions to launch the game within the set guidelines) but now What we’ve realized as of now is that mobile games are becoming more unpredictable. I expect a regulatory body to come into the game, which will monitor over time instead of banning games overnight.”