Why Is BGMI Not Showing Up on Play Store?
Just a year after the release of Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), the game is no longer downloadable from the App Store, Play Store and the APK file cannot be downloaded from the website either. The game was released after the ban of PUBG Mobile and it was meant to be an India-exclusive title with an esports ecosystem of its own and garnered a total user base of 100 Million players by July 2022. With the game being removed, the future of BGMI esports in India looks dim.
BGMI was reportedly banned in the interest of national security
the government of India has banned BGMI using a section of the Indian IT law, which includes section 69A that has provisions that allow the government to block access to content in the interest of national security. BGMI has over 100 million users in India and it is just one of the many apps (which includes Free Fire, Mobile Legends, Arena of Valor) that have been banned over the recent years.
The ban could have come about because the Indian government is imposing a ban on Chinese apps due to national security concerns. With Tencent holding a 13.5% stake in Krafton as of March, this could have raised concerns with the Indian government. The move led to Krafton shares dipping by 9% on Friday and it is already another 4.5% down as of this afternoon on the Seoul trading market.
A Google representative confirmed the ban was based on a government directive whereas Apple has not responded to Reuters yet. A Krafton spokesperson has confirmed that the developer is currently talking to relevant authorities regarding the suspension of the game.
The move by the Indian government comes as a shock as BGMI reportedly complies with all security and privacy guidelines laid out by the Indian government. The government invoked a section of the IT law to impose the ban to block access to all content in BGMI.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) and non-profit Prahar had repeatedly asked the government to investigate the influence of China on BGMI which led to the ban. It is unknown if and when the game’s ban will be lifted. A permanent ban could lead to serious implications on the livelihood of esports players, content creators, and the esports industry as a whole as BGMI was the biggest esports title in India prior to the ban.