PUBG re-ban: Battlegrounds Mobile India removed from Android, iOS stores

Image credit: Entrackr

In what looks to be a renewal of the government’s ban on the hugely popular mobile game PUBG, Battlegrounds Mobile India has been withdrawn from the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. The game was previously published in India by the Chinese company Tencent. It was created by the Korean company Krafton but was later outlawed due to border disputes between India and China.

The creator was able to avoid government punishment by quickly relaunching the game under a new name (and with filtered graphics).

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology recently informed the Telangana High Court that BGMI and PUBG were two different games and that no state had sought that the former be banned, thus it is unclear why it appears to have ordered that the prohibition be reinstated. In response to a recent parliamentary question, the administration stated that PUBG was prohibited but made no mention of BGMI.

The withdrawal of BGMI, as the game is frequently known, will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the Indian gaming industry. One in thirteen Indians has at least installed and opened the game, according to the game’s 100 million unique user milestone last month. The government’s abrupt and mysterious decision to forbid Krafton’s historic property may jeopardise the $100 million in investments the company has planned to make in India.

This is also a case study for companies that would rather engage in charm offensives and diplomatic relations with the Indian government than seek legal redress through the courts; first TikTok, and now BGMI, have both exhausted all possible avenues to have the bans on their services lifted, with the exception of the obvious choice of doing so through the courts.

They both failed, but Krafton’s failure was a little more dramatic because it invested millions of dollars after PUBG was banned and now risks losing access to what is probably its biggest source of income in India.

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