Fans of the popular battle royale game Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) are shocked after the game suddenly came out disappeared from Google Play Store and App Store on Thursday. Aneesh Thomas, 32, who regularly plays BGMI, said he is extremely discouraged to see the game being removed. “Although BGMI has been removed from app stores, it is still accessible to me. However, the same thing happened with PUBG as well. First it was removed and after a few days we couldn’t play anymore.”
It is not clear at this time why the government has ordered the game to be taken off the air. “We are clarifying how BGMI has been removed from the Google Play Store and the App Store and will let you know as soon as we receive specific information,” Krafton said in a statement. However, while removing the app from the store, Google has cited the government’s request to remove the game.
BGMI fans want the Indian government to reinstate the game in the country and are seeking a reasonable explanation for its abrupt removal. “The sudden removal is likely aimed at a blanket ban. This decision will only harm the gaming ecosystem,” Pranav Panpalia, founder of the gaming community OpraahFX, told indianexpress.com. He said both Freefire and BGMI, the top games played in the country, have been removed in a similar fashion. “There is a multimillion-dollar economy that revolves around these games, there are carriers connected to them. So ban doesn’t seem logical to me.”
It should be noted that BGMI is the new avatar of PUBG Mobile, made exclusively for Indian players. PUBG Mobile is owned by Tencent, while BGMI is developed by South Korean publisher Krafton. It was released on July 2, 2021 for Android devices and on August 18, 2021 for iOS devices, after the government banned PUBG and other Chinese apps over national security concerns.
YouTube streamer Abhay Singh aka Thugboimax is being confused with the government’s request to remove the game. “Despite the developers changing the server location and elements of the game, according to government standards, this has still happened. I believe this is absolutely wrong and will affect online gaming streamers like me who rely on BGMI for a living.”
Meanwhile, some believe that BGMI has been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons and that it should have been. “With the recent incident of a boy killing his mother over a BGMI argument, the game had once again come under the government’s radar and flagged as unsafe for young adults,” said Rohit Agarwal, founder and director of Alpha Zegus, a marketing agency specialized in gaming and lifestyle.
The reason for banning the app is not clear. “The confidentiality clause in the blocking rules also prevents the intermediaries from communicating about this which is contrary to the law of natural law. It’s time to rethink the confidentiality clause of the blocking rules,” said Prasanth Sugathan, SFLC.in’s legal director.
Just four weeks ago, BGMI surpassed 100 million users in India, as the game has been completed in the country for a year.