Krafton, the South Korean game developed, launched Battlegrounds Mobile India in the country, as a rebranded and reworked version of the original insanely popular title PUBG. However, BGMI — as it is popularly known — soon got into trouble and was ultimately added to the ban list by Indian regulators.
According to a tweet by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, BGMI has been un-banned for a “trial period” of 3 months. According to his tweet, the government will closely watch on “other issues of User harm, Addiction etc in next 3 months” before a final decision on an ultimate un-ban is taken.
This is a 3 month trial approval of #BGMI aftr it has complied wth issues of server locations n data security etc.
— Rajeev Chandrasekhar 🇮🇳 (@Rajeev_GoI) May 19, 2023
To give some context, this saga began in September 2020, when Indian government banned the hugely popular PUB-G gaming title from Indian version of Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. This had come on the context of escalated tensions between India and China across their border, with India taking action after alleged transgressions by the Chinese army on Indian land in the Ladakh region. India banned TikTok, PUBG, WeChat among several other apps, that had any direct/in-direct links with China-based businesses. Tencent being the one in center here.
Then in 2021, Krafton individually launched a rebranded PUB-G version called ‘Battlegrounds Mobile India. The version lasted for nearly a year, before again being banned by the Indian government. Chandrasekhar had then said, that there have been instances of banned apps making a comeback to India after a rebrand. Additionally, he said that the law enforcement agencies were also investigating an alleged incident of a 16 year old killing his parents over an argument on PUBG.
Today’s move though, has been hailed by most in the gaming industry quarters.
Sean Hyunil Sohn, CEO, KRAFTON, Inc. India, says “We are highly grateful to the Indian authorities for allowing us to resume operations of BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA (BGMI). We would like to extend our gratitude to our Indian gaming community for their support and patience over the past few months. We are excited to announce that BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA will be available for download soon and we cannot wait to welcome you back to our platform.”
For Krafton, this is also a fruit of the investments it has been making in the Indian content and gaming space. The company has invested over $100Mn in Indian gaming companies, which includes Nazara-owned Nodwin Gaming, audio content platform Kuku FM among others.