Mobile game Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), which the Indian government banned in July 2022, will be relaunched soon. Krafton, the game’s publisher, announced this in a statement. The central government banned BGMI’s earlier version, PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG), in 2020, along with 117 other apps with Chinese links.
Thanking the Indian authorities for letting the company resume BGMI in India, and the gaming community for their support, Krafton Inc’s CEO Sean Hyunil Sohn, stated, “BGMI will be available for download soon. Our approach has always been India-first, the foundation of all our efforts. We believe in investing in the Indian gaming industry and building a vibrant ecosystem fostering growth and innovation.”
He added that to achieve its mission, the company will augment its technology developments in India by collaborating with local developers and promoting the latest technologies. This includes providing skilling and employment opportunities for Indian talent to help them nurture their skillset and thrive in the industry.
A year after its launch in India, BGMI claims to have amassed 100 million cumulative users. It was the first esports event broadcasted on mainstream television, attracting 24 million concurrent and 200 million viewers.
Vibhor Kukreti, head-government affairs at Krafton, said that the company abides by the law and has implemented several measures to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations. “We strongly encourage our users to prioritize their well-being and follow responsible gaming practices. We are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for our players. 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.”
In 2021, Krafton invested nearly $100 million to improve India’s local video game, esports, and entertainment startups.
Jinesh Joshi, research analyst at Prabhudas Lilladher noted that the suspension of BGMI had a big impact on esports viewership, given it is a popular battle royale game. “In fact, in the last earnings call, management had highlighted that share of media rights revenue had declined from 39% in FY22 to 21% in FY23 as some popular games like BGMI were banned,” he said.
However, with BGMI making a comeback, he believes it will be a big positive for esports viewership and Nazara in particular. This is because Krafton is an investor in Nodwin and TV broadcasting of BGMI can be explored since Nazara had previously tied with Star Sports to live telecast the tournament on TV.