Google and Apple have pulled the popular mobile game Battlegrounds Mobile India, better known as BGMI, from their respective app stores in India to comply with a New Delhi injunction, a source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch, a year ago. after developer Krafton released the app following a ban on similarly titled PUBG in the South Asian market.
In a statement to TechCrunch, a Google spokesperson confirmed: “After receiving the order, we notified the affected developer in accordance with the established process and blocked access to the app that remained available on the Play Store in India.”
The app was removed by Google from the Play Store on Thursday evening and by Apple from the App Store in India. The iPhone maker did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A Krafton spokesperson acknowledged the deletion and said the company was seeking clarification.
The development follows growing tension between India and China, two nuclear-armed neighbors at odds since a deadly skirmish along the Himalayan border in 2020. India responded by banning hundreds of China-linked apps, including PUBG and TikTok. , both of which users regarded India as their largest overseas market.
Of the hundreds of apps New Delhi banned in the country, Krafton’s Pubg was the only title to return — albeit with a completely revamped avatar.
Krafton said it had cut ties with its publisher Tencent and pledged to invest $100 million in India’s gaming ecosystem. Krafton — which has backed a number of Indian startups over the past year and a half, including Nodwin Gaming, Loco, Pratilipi and Kuku FM — told TechCrunch earlier this week that it was on track to deploy more than $140 million in the country next month.
The South Korean headquarters said earlier this week that more than 100 million users had signed up for the game in India. According to Sensor Tower, Battlegrounds Mobile India had more than 16.5 million monthly active users in the country.
It was unclear why the Indian government had ordered Battlegrounds Mobile India to be blocked. Last month, a local media report — the authenticity of which has been questioned by many — claimed that a child had killed his mother under the influence of the game. The report gained wide popularity on social media and reached the national parliament this month. Indian junior IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said last week that law enforcement agencies were investigating the subject.
This is a story in development. Come back for more updates.