India Tech

Battlegrounds Mobile disappears from India’s Google and Apple app stores, 100 million users affected

A popular combat and survival game similar to hit video game PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG) has been blocked in India.

Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) has been taken off the Google and Apple app stores.

Google said it had blocked access to the game in the country after receiving a government order.

Developer Krafton confirmed the news and said it was talking to authorities to understand why it was suspended.

BGMI is a rebranded avatar of PUBG, which was among a slew of Chinese-origin apps blocked by the Indian government in 2020.

The ban in 2020 took place against the backdrop of tensions between the two countries along a disputed Himalayan border.

In several phases throughout the year, India banned apps like WeChat Work and TikTok, that had Chinese links.

PUBG was developed by a subsidiary of the South Korean company, Krafton, and operated in India through Tencent Games, a division of the Chinese multinational Tencent Holdings.

The company cut ties with Tencent in India and released BGMI in 2021. A year after its launch, the Krafton said the game had 100 million registered users in India.

In June, PUBG made headlines again after a 16-year-old boy in Lucknow city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh allegedly shot his mother dead for scolding him about playing the game.

The incident renewed a debate about the violence in such games and also came up in the ongoing session of the parliament.

In response to an MP’s question about such apps, the government said it was looking into reports of rebranded and similar sounding apps.