South Korean giant Krafton has received approval from Indian authorities to resume operations of Battlegrounds Mobile India, a popular Indian-focused mobile battle royale game the company launched after New Delhi banned the marquee PUBG in South Korea. Asian market. BGMI was also later blocked by New Delhi.
Krafton has been in contact with New Delhi for the past few weeks and was given approval earlier this month to proceed with the resumption of BGMI, according to a person familiar with the matter. According to two people familiar with the matter, New Delhi has imposed some restrictions on how the BGMI app will work in India in the future. Krafton did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s deputy IT minister, said New Delhi granted BGMI a “trial approval” for three months after Krafton addressed concerns about data security and the location of its servers. “We will closely monitor other issues of user harm, addiction, etc. over the next 3 months before making a final decision,” he said after the story was published.
PUBG and its custom avatar BGMI were the most popular mobile titles in India before their ban. PUBG once had over 50 million monthly active users and surpassed all rivals on gaming platforms. The increasing popularity of PUBG also significantly spurred the growth of the e-sports market in India, which also benefited numerous other platforms including Rooter and Loco that stream those matches.
“We are deeply grateful to the Indian authorities for allowing us to resume Battlegrounds Mobile India operations. We would like to thank our Indian gaming community for their support and patience over the past few months,” Sean Hyunil Sohn, CEO of Krafton India, said in a statement.
“We are pleased to announce that Battlegrounds Mobile India will soon be available for download and we can’t wait to welcome you back to our platform. We believe in the power of gaming to bring people together and create unforgettable experiences. We are committed to providing exceptional products and services to our users in India and abroad, and we look forward to continuing our journey with you.”
The move comes as New Delhi is considering lifting the ban on a number of apps it once believed had ties to China. Fashion giant Shein will also re-enter the Indian market in partnership with local retail giant Reliance Retail, WSJ reported Thursday.
Amid geopolitical tensions between India and China, which escalated in mid-2020 amid deadly skirmishes along the Himalayan border, New Delhi in response banned more than 300 apps with links to China. The apps include Shein, PUBG, TikTok, and UC Browser. New Delhi has never officially classified the banned apps as Chinese.
Krafton hastened in recent years to sever any perceived ties with China – cutting ties with publisher Tencent and moving to India’s Azure server – and relaunched PUBG with minor tweaks and a new name – BGMI – last year . When New Delhi blocked the game again in July 2022, consumers who already had the app installed on their devices were not affected, according to people familiar with the matter.
“We would like to thank our Indian gaming community for their support and patience over the past few months,” Krafton said Friday.