Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), the rebranded version of PUBG Mobile from Korean game publisher Krafton, has been removed from Apple and Google app stores in India following a government order, reported Indian Express.
The development has come a month after a 16-year-old boy allegedly shot his mother because she stopped him from playing “online games like PUBG”.
This issue was also raised in the ongoing session of Parliament, where the government had said the Home Ministry was examining some of the banned apps appearing with a new avatar but with same functionality.
Last week, Rajya Sabha MP V Vijayasai Reddy had asked if the IT Ministry was taking action against apps like PUBG where “some children have also committed crimes when they were restrained from playing the game”.
To this, Minister of State for Electronics & IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar had responded: “There are various reports and grievances received in Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), conveying that apps that were blocked are appearing with new avatar by using similar sounding names or rebranded with the same functionality. All such reports and grievances have been forwarded to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the requesting agency, for examination. MeitY follows the due process as defined in the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009″.
“There was a media report that a child has killed his mother based on PUBG that he has been playing. This is a matter of investigation by LEAs to find the reason. But, the PUBG gaming app was blocked by MeitY in the year 2020 and the PUBG game is not available in India since then,” Chandrasekhar added.
A Krafton spokesperson told Indian Express: “We are clarifying how BGMI was removed from Google Play store and the App store and will let you know once we get specific information”. Google confirmed that it has taken the game down from its Play Store in India after informing Krafton.
“On receipt of the order, following established process, we have notified the affected developer and have blocked access to the app that remained available on the Play Store in India,” a Google spokesperson told Indian Express.