Mobile gaming enthusiasts will be able to get back to one of their favorite action game, Battlegrounds Mobile, as the government has revoked the ban which was imposed on it in July last year because of alleged Chinese communication links. However, for the next three months the government will monitor if the company has complied with all security related norms.
“This is a three-month trial approval after the company said it has complied with issues of server locations and data security etc,” Rajeev Chandrasekhar, minister of state for electronics and IT, said. He said that the government will keep a close watch on other issues of user harm, addiction etc, in the next three months before making a final decision.
Battlegrounds Mobile, is the Indian version of battle royale mobile game PUBG. The game operated by South Korea-based Krafton will soon make a comeback on the app stores for download, the company said in a statement on Friday.
“We are highly grateful to the Indian authorities for allowing us to resume operations of Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI),” said Sean Hyunil Sohn, CEO of Krafton, Inc, India. “We are committed to delivering exceptional products and services to our users in India and beyond, and we look forward to continuing our journey,” Sohn added.
The multi-player online game had 100 million registered users, when it was banned in July last year over security concerns, alleged links with Chinese servers, violent crimes emerging from the game in real-life, among other issues.
With regard to changes in the Battleground game, the government has asked Krafton to tweak the settings in a way that it does not harm users, prevents user addiction as well as not lead to real-life violent actions, according to people aware of the matter .
“We are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for our players and believe that by promoting responsible gaming, we can contribute to a healthier gaming culture, where players can enjoy themselves while still taking care of their overall well-being,” said Vibhor. Kukreti, head of government affairs at Krafton, Inc India.
In July 2021, Krafton launched BGMI, after the government banned PUBG in September 2020. After the ban, Krafton had cut ties with China-based Tencent, its publishing partner for games in India.
Krafton has invested over $100 million in several Indian startups in the field of interactive entertainment, gaming, e-sports and technology. Some of the startups are Nazara-owned Nodwin Gaming, Loco, FRND, Pratilipi, One Impression, Nautilus Mobile, Kuku FM, and Lila Games.
“Krafton is a close partner of Nodwin/Nazara and we are delighted to see the return of BGMI in India. I am confident our teams will work together to create superlative experiences for the e-sports enthusiasts in our country,” said Nitish Mittersain, Founder & CEO of Nazara Technologies.
The removal of the ban will enable Nazara and Nodwin to also broadcast the game on television. Nodwin has an existing partnership with Star Sports for BGMI.
“Nodwin believes that this opens up the market for the ecosystem for new revenue for creators, teams players and organizers. We believe e-sports stands poised to be the second most watched sport in our country,” said Akshat Rathee, co-founder and managing director of Nodwin Gaming.
However, Nodwin did not give an exact time frame as to by when he will be able to resume broadcasting of BGMI on Star Sports.
Jinesh Joshi, research analyst at Prabhudas Lilladher, said, “suspension of BGMI had a big impact on e-sports viewership given it is a popular battle royale game”.
“The game was an integral part of our e-sports roadmap before and while we have diversified to other titles, we look forward to integrating India’s favorite battle royale title into our IPs like the Skyesports League, Skyesports Championship, and more in the near future. ,” said Shiva Nandy, founder and CEO of Skyesports.
Krafton said that BGMI made history by becoming the first e-sports event to be broadcast on mainstream television attracting 24 million concurrent viewers and a total of 200 million viewers.