Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), a popular battle royale game, has made a triumphant return after being banned due to concerns over cybersecurity threats and its association with China’s Tencent. The Indian government has granted permission for the app’s reentry, much to the delight of gamers.
The ban was imposed after an intelligence agency report and directives from the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. The report highlighted potential security risks associated with the app’s collection of user data. Krafton, the game developer, acknowledged the issues and assured that they were working to address them. At the time, Tencent, a Chinese developer, held a 13.5% stake in Krafton, raising further concerns.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology stated that BGMI, along with other Chinese apps, engaged in activities prejudicial to India’s sovereignty, defense, security, and public order. Google complied with the government’s order and blocked access to the app on the Play Store in India. Prior to the ban, BGMI boasted a massive following of over 100 million players, with the game gaining popularity in the esports scene and offering substantial prizes at tournaments.
The game’s prohibition fell under Section 69A of India’s IT law, which grants the government authority to restrict public access to content on grounds of national security. PRAHAR, a non-profit organization, had urged the government to block the game, claiming it posed a grave threat to India’s security and integrity. The RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch echoed this demand, citing Krafton’s strategic partnership with Tencent.
Now that the game is back, it will undergo a trial period of three months. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Deputy IT Minister, stated that the government would closely monitor issues such as user harm and addiction during this period before making a final decision. Sources indicate that Krafton has severed ties with Tencent and migrated to an Indian server since the ban.
Expressing gratitude to Indian authorities, Krafton’s CEO, Sean Hyunil Sohn, thanked the Indian gaming community for their support and patience. He emphasized the company’s commitment to providing exceptional products and services, expressing excitement about welcoming players back to the platform. BGMI has announced that the game will be available for download soon, marking the eagerly anticipated return of this popular mobile gaming sensation.