BGMI has been removed from Google Play Store and Apple App Store, a few days after it celebrated its first launch anniversary in India. The move was sudden but we’ve seen similar bans from the govt in the past. However, BGMI was one of the few gaming apps that were relaunched and re-branded as a new title. Other changes were also made to specifically adopt the policies of the Indian market, at least on the surface.
The BGMI ban is still not official but both Krafton Inc. and the app stores have made it abundantly clear that the move has been demanded by the Indian govt. So let’s take a look at the possible reasons why BGMI may have been banned one year after its re-launch.
Recent Arguments on BGMI in Parliament
During the ongoing Monsoon session in the parliament, questions were raised on the legitimacy of the BGMI game. V. Vijayasai Reddy, a member of Parliament, Andhra Pradesh had asked the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) about the availability of the game. He linked the game to a recent incident of matricide where a teenager allegedly shot his mother.
Post the incident, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights wrote a letter to MeitY demanding an explanation about how the same game is available two years after the ban was put in place and how it is available for minors.
MeitY had responded to the accusations by the National Commission for Protection of Child Right by claiming that the matter is under investigation and clarified that PUBG Mobile was banned in the year 2020 and it is still not available on the app stores. This clearly explains that MeitY doesn’t consider BGMI to be the same as PUBG Mobile. Additionally, the ministry in a detailed affidavit also claimed that PUBG Mobile and BGMI are two different games.
Data Privacy and Safety with BGMI
The ban on PUBG was instituted in light of privacy concerns. The creators were accused of funneling data of Indian users to the servers of other countries. This, according to the govt was a breach of security. The move to ban Chinese apps also came at a time when India was in a tussle with the Chinese army in the Galwam Valley. PUBG Mobile was one of the most played games across both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The ban was indefinite which led to the launch of BGMI. Krafton claimed to have severed ties with Tencent for the game, which was a big point of contention.
Additionally, BGMI introduced some new elements in gameplay in order to address the violent aspects of the game. For instance, the red blood splatter, while shooting an enemy was changed to green, and the word ‘Kills’ was replaced with ‘Finishes’. While these were some minor changes, for the most part, the game continued to offer a similar experience.
Why the BGMI ban after all?
BGMI is the biggest eSports title in the country and India has grand plans in this arena. It is still not clear if the game has been banned indefinitely or if this is just a temporary takedown. When the muddy waters settle, we’ll have a clear picture as to why the game is not available in any of the stores. The game is still playable for users who have it downloaded but if this is a permanent ban, it will stop operating soon.
If the violence aspect stands true, there are a host of games on the Play Store and App Store that may see the axe soon enough. There games like Krafton’s own New State Mobile and other such as Call of Duty Mobile, Garena Free Fire Max, Apex Legends Mobile and even more on the way.
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