After being banned in India last July over security concerns, the popular battle royale game BGMI disappeared from Android and iOS app stores. Since then, fans of the title have been eagerly awaiting its comeback.
Now, Krafton has confirmed that the game is actually making a return, mere days after a report revealed ongoing talks between the developer and Indian officials.
In a press release, Krafton has announced that BGMI will be available for download soon: “We are highly grateful to the Indian authorities for allowing us to resume operations of Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI). We would like to extend our gratitude to our Indian gaming community for their support and patience over the past few months. We are excited to announce that Battlegrounds Mobile India will be available for download soon and we cannot wait to welcome you back to our platform.”
There is speculation that Krafton will have to comply with certain conditions before it can proceed with the BGMI re-launch in the country. One of these conditions is to impose a daily time limit on BGMI to curb addiction, especially among children. This is akin to China’s own three-hour cap for PUBG. Moreover, authorities have requested Krafton to eliminate blood effects completely from the game. BGMI previously displayed green blood effects by default.
The unban is more of a testbed than a complete reversal, though. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship of India, stated in a tweet that the reversal is a “3-month trial” approved after Krafton complied with issues of server locations and data security. During this period, concerned authorities will keep a close watch on issues of user harm and addiction. If the game is found violating any rules, it can even be banned again.
Regardless, the battle royale game genre on mobile remains highly popular in India. When BGMI was pulled, players switched to other options like Call of Duty: Mobile and Free Fire to keep up their fun.
Krafton’s Sean Hyunil Sohn revealed the company’s plans to increase its investment in the Indian gaming industry. “To achieve our mission, we aim to augment technology developments in India by collaborating with local developers and promoting the use of cutting-edge technologies. We also recognise the importance of providing skilling and employment opportunities for Indian talent, which can help them nurture their skillset and thrive in the industry.”
How has the industry reacted to the ban reversal?
Shiva Nandy, Founder and CEO of Skyesports, looks forward to re-including BGMI in online gaming championships. “I welcome Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) return to India. The game was an integral part of our Esports roadmap before and while we have diversified to other titles, we look forward to integrating India’s favourite battle royale title into our IPs like the Skyesports League, Skyesports Championship, and more in the near future,” he stated.
Echoing a similar sentiment, Roby John, CEO and co-founder SuperGaming expresses that they’re glad BGMI is making a return. “There would be no Indus without PUBG/BGMI, and playing PUBG and other shooters like Apex and CoD have defined the space for us and our player expectations. We’re glad it’s coming back, gaming should be without boundaries.”
Rohit Jagasia, Founder and CEO, Revenant Esports says that they’d already heard rumblings of the game making a comeback and had begun preparing for it: “We look forward to using the game to strengthen our newly-launched content IPs and expanding them further to include BGMI. The game’s return will definitely be a huge boost to the entire Esports industry and reopen revenue streams for all stakeholders.”
Anurag Khurana, CEO and founder of Penta Esports, believes BGMI’s return will rejuvenate the Indian gaming and content creation communities. “BGMI had shown massive traction from the Indian gaming community and it will be great for the community. BGMI’s return will be beneficial for the entire gaming community, including content creators, esports athletes and others,” he said.