The popular esports game PUBG: Mobile’s India-specific edition, Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), has been taken down from the PlayStore and Appstore in India.
The game’s withdrawal is the most recent development in the spat between Indian authorities and game producer KRAFTON, who is accused of having connections to Tencent, a Chinese corporation.
The country’s authorities outlawed PUBG Mobile in 2020, which prompted the production of its Indian counterpart in 2021.
KRAFTON told Indian media after the game was taken down: “We are clarifying how BGMI was deleted from Google Play Store and the Appstore and will let you know as we have exact information.”
India’s esports scene may suffer greatly if BGMI is removed, especially if the title is not brought back. However, those that have the game downloaded may still access it right now.
Even while the Indian version hasn’t achieved the same immediate popularity as PUBG: Mobile, it remains one of the nation’s most widely played esports games. Esports Charts said the most recent Battlegrounds Mobile India Pro Series Season 1 high viewership was 304,700.
Furthermore, BGMI hasn’t been removed from the broader PUBG: Mobile esports industry. Following their triumph in the BGMI Pro Series, Team Soul has received an invitation to the forthcoming PUBG Mobile World Invitational 2022.
Several participants in the Indian esports community described the removal’s effects on Esports Insider.
“The BGMI [removal] would surely be a setback for all key stakeholders including tournament organizations, esports teams, coaches, support personnel, and most importantly the players,” stated Rohit Jagasia, Founder & CEO of Indian esports organization Revenant Esports.
However, at Revenant Esports, we will continue to assist our BGMI Athletes and ensure that they use our training space to produce content and experiment with other video games.
Lokesh Suji, Director of the Indian Esports Federation and Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF), emphasized that it is still too early to speculate on the removal since the government has not yet issued an official announcement. He did, however, point out that the withdrawal of the game underlines India’s dependence on a single game.
“India is forging its route to become a multi-sport country where every sport is receiving the proper exposure, audience, and funding to thrive,” he added. The same applies to esports, where we must start exposing fans to various esports titles rather than just one.
“With the government receiving so much attention on all fronts, it’s about time our Indian video game producers accelerated the process to release world-class esports video game titles,”
The co-founder and CEO of the Indian fan engagement startup STAN, Parth Chadha, concluded by saying: “The recent removal of BGMI app from PlayStore and Apple AppStore has caused a lot of uncertainty and upheaval amongst the BGMI-lovers’ community in India — which is currently growing bigger with every passing day. If this change is made permanently, it will significantly impact the BGMI athletes in our nation.
The reason for the game’s withdrawal and whether it will be permanent is yet unknown.