Fans of the popular battle royale game Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) are shocked after the game suddenly disappeared from Google Play Store and App Store on Thursday. Aneesh Thomas, 32, who plays BGMI regularly said he is extremely disheartened to see the game being removed. “While BGMI is removed from app stores, it is still accessible for me. However, the same thing happened with PUBG as well. First, it was removed and after a couple of days, we couldn’t play.”
As of now, it is not clear why the government directed the game to be taken down. “We are clarifying how BGMI was removed from Google Play store and the App store and will let you know once we get specific information,” Krafton said in a statement. However, Google, while removing the app from its store, 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 looking for a reasonable explanation for its abrupt removal. “The sudden removal is probably aiming towards a blanket ban. This decision will only hurt the gaming ecosystem,” Pranav Punalia, founder of gaming community OpraahFX told indianexpress.com. He said both Freefire and BGMI, the top games played in the country, were removed in a similar manner. “There is a million multi-million dollar economy, which is revolving around these games, there are carriers which are associated with it. So, banning it doesn’t make sense to me.”
It should be noted that BGMI is the new avatar of PUBG Mobile, exclusively made for Indian players. PUBG Mobile is owned by Tencent whereas BGMI has been 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 confused with the government’s request to remove the game. “Despite the developers changing the server location and elements of the game, according to the government norms, this has still happened. I believe this is absolutely wrong and will affect online gaming streamers like me, who rely on BGMI for their bread and butter.”
Meanwhile, some believe that BGMI has been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons and this was ought to happen. “With the recent incident of a boy killing his mother over a BGMI argument, the game had yet again come under the radar of the government and marked it as unsafe for young adults,” said Rohit Agarwal, founder and director of Alpha Zegus, a marketing agency specialising in the domains of gaming and lifestyle.
The reason for banning the app is not evident. “The confidentiality clause in the blocking rules prevent the intermediaries also from communicating about this which goes against the law of natural justice. It is time to take a relook at the confidentiality provision of the blocking rules,”said Prasanth Sugathan, Legal Director, SFLC.in.
Only four weeks ago, BGMI surpassed 100 million users in India, as the game completed one year in the country.