PRAHAR, a non-profit organisation working in the area of socio-economic development, has thanked the Centre for getting Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) removed from the App Store and Play Store.
Published by KRAFTON, BGMI is said to be the rebranded version of banned Chinese game PUBG Mobile. The Indian government banned PUBG in 2020 along with 117 other apps.
Abhay Mishra, president, PRAHAR said “Since February this year, we have raised the fact that BGMI and the banned PUBG are one and the same. In the so-called new avatar, the BGMI was no different from erstwhile PUBG with Tencent still controlling it in the background. We are grateful to the Government of India for taking this step in the interest of security and sovereignty of India”
In February 2022, PRAHAR had written to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to block the Chinese game app BGMI. The NGO said in the letter that the mobile game “poses a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, and public order.”
RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) had also supported PRAHAR on the issue and said the government should thoroughly investigate “the antecedents and China influence” of the BGMI-PUBG app and take “immediate action if found in violation”.
“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,” said a KRAFTON’s spokesperson.
BGMI is said to have surpassed 100 million registered users in July 2022. In the last year, KRAFTON, Inc. invested nearly $100 million in Indian startups across esports, and entertainment startups such as Loco, NODWIN, Kuku FM, and Pratilipi among others.
Apart from the publisher’s official tournaments, many Indian esports organisations were also organising multiple BGMI tournaments with massive prize pools. The game served as a revenue source for esports organisations, teams, live streamers, esports players, and gaming content creators in India.
Setback to stakeholders
Commenting on the development, Rohit Jagasia, Founder & CEO, Revenant Esports said, “The BGMI ban will definitely be a setback for all major stakeholders like tournament organizations, Esports teams, coaches, support staff and most importantly the athletes. However, at Revenant Esports, we will still be supporting our BGMI athletes and make sure they use our training facility to create content and try their hand at different games.”