Explained: Why has new PUBG avatar BGMI been taken down from Google, Apple app stores?

Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), the rebranded version of PUBG Mobile from Korean game publisher Krafton, is removed from both Apple and Google app stores in India on government orders, according to sources aware of the development.

A Krafton spokesperson said: “We are clarifying how BGMI has been removed from the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store and will let you know as soon as we receive specific information.”

Google has confirmed that it has pulled the game from the Play Store in India after notifying Krafton. “After receiving the order, we notified the affected developer, following an established process, and blocked access to the app that remained available on the Play Store in India,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Why has BGMI been delisted from Apple, Google’s app stores?

While the government hasn’t officially commented on why the game had to be removed, development has come a month later 16-year-old boy allegedly shot his mother because she prevented him from playing “online games like PubG”. This issue was also raised during the ongoing session of Parliament, where the government had said that the Interior Ministry was investigating some of the banned apps that appear with a new avatar but with the same functionality.

Last week, Rajya Sabha MP V Vijayasai Reddy had asked if the IT ministry was taking action against apps like PUBG, adding that “some children have also committed crimes when they were prevented from playing the game”.

To this, Secretary of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar had replied: “Several reports and grievances have been received in Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) showing that blocked apps appear with a new avatar by using similar sounding names or rebranding with same functionality. All such reports and grievances have been forwarded to the Ministry of Interior (MHA), the requesting agency for investigation. MeitY follows due process as defined in the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.

“There was a media report that a kid killed his mother based on PUBG that he was playing. This is a matter of research by LEAs to find the reason. But the PUBG gaming app was blocked by MeitY in the year 2020 and the PUBG game has not been available in India since then,” Chandrasekhar added.

Why was PUBG Mobile banned in India before?

This is the second time the game has been removed from the app stores in India, with its predecessor PUBG, the popular battle royale game, is banned in the country prior to this.

Tencent Games, a Chinese internet company, published PUBG Mobile in India when the game was banned in the country in 2020, along with 117 other applications believed to be made by companies from China, as they were allegedly involved in activities that ” were harmful”. sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, state security and public order”.

Before the game’s relaunch in India under its new name, the PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of Krafton, had said in September 2020 that it would not authorize the PUBG Mobile franchise to Tencent Games in India, and assumed all publishing responsibilities in the country. about.

Before PUBG, the popular short video platform TikTok along with 58 other apps of Chinese origin were banned in India in June 2020 at the height of tensions between India and China on the border.

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