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Fans of the popular battle royale game Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) are in for a shock after the game suddenly disappeared from the 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. “Even though BGMI is removed from the app stores, it’s still available to me. However, the same thing happened with PUBG. First it was removed and after a few days we couldn’t play.”
It is still unclear why the government ordered the game to be pulled. “We are clarifying how BGMI was removed from Google Play and the App Store and will let you know as soon as we have specific information,” Krafton said in a statement. However, Google cited the government’s request to remove the game in removing the app from its store.
BGMI fans want the Indian government to revive the game in the country and are looking for a reasonable explanation for its sudden removal. “The sudden removal is likely to lead to a blanket ban. This decision will only harm the gaming ecosystem,” Pranav Punalia, founder of gaming community OpraahFX, told indianexpress.com. He said that both Freefire and BGMI, the top games played in the country, were removed in a similar manner. “There is a multi-million dollar economy that revolves around these games, there are carriers that are associated with it. So banning it doesn’t make sense to me.”
It should be noted that BGMI is a new PUBG Mobile avatar made exclusively for Indian players. PUBG Mobile is owned by Tencent, while BGMI was developed by South Korean publisher Krafton. It was released on July 2, 2021 for Android devices and August 18, 2021 for iOS devices after the government banned PUBG and other Chinese apps due to national security concerns.
YouTube streamer Abhay Singh aka Thugboimax is confused by the government’s demand to remove the game. “Despite the developers changing the server location and game elements according to government standards, it still happened. I believe this is absolutely wrong and will affect online game streamers like myself who rely on BGMI for their bread and butter.”
Meanwhile, some believe that BGMI was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, and it was meant to be. “Given the recent incident where a boy killed his mother over an argument over BGMI, the game has once again come under the government’s scrutiny, calling it dangerous for young adults,” said Rohit Agarwal, founder and director of Alpha Zegus, a marketing agency specializing in gaming and lifestyle areas.
The reason for banning the application is not clear. “Confidentiality provisions in the blocking rules prevent intermediaries from communicating about it as well, which is against the law of natural justice. It is time to revisit the confidentiality provisions of the blocking rules,” said Prasanth Sugathan, Legal Director, SFLC.in.
Just four weeks ago, BGMI crossed 100 million users in India as the game completed one year in the country.