In a surprising turn of events, the South Korean game developer Krafton has confirmed that the popular game Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) is set to make a comeback to the Indian market after its ban last year.
Krafton, in their latest press release, expressed their gratitude towards the Indian authorities for permitting the resumption of BGMI operations. The game, a localized version of the international hit PUBG Mobile, was taken down from both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in 2021 due to unresolved security concerns.
Following extensive negotiations with the Indian government, Krafton has been granted a “trial approval” for three months. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s Deputy IT Minister, stated that the government will be keeping a vigilant eye on any user harm, addiction issues, and other potential concerns during this trial period before reaching a final decision.
Addressing addiction, particularly among young players, has been a significant concern. To counter this issue, Krafton has been instructed to implement a daily time limit for the game over the 90-day trial period. This step has been seen as an effort to mitigate the psychological impact of the game on its younger audience, following last year’s tragic incident involving a teenage player.
Simultaneously, Krafton has been requested to alter the game’s animations to eliminate blood depictions to reduce perceived violence. Previously, the developer had changed the color of in-game blood to green to make it appear less violent.
The forthcoming return of BGMI is expected to rekindle the previously thriving Indian e-sports scene. BGMI, with over 100 million users shortly after its initial launch, became the first e-sports event to be broadcast on mainstream television, drawing a massive audience.
Sean Hyunil Sohn, Krafton India’s CEO, reemphasized the company’s “India-first” approach in his statement, pledging to collaborate with local developers and promote the use of cutting-edge technologies to boost the Indian gaming industry.
The reinstatement of BGMI might indicate New Delhi’s reconsideration of its stance on several banned apps perceived to have Chinese affiliations, paving the way for more diverse content in the Indian digital ecosystem. However, the final decision remains contingent upon Krafton successfully addressing the government’s concerns during the trial period.
The anticipation around BGMI’s return illustrates the enormous influence of gaming in India. The outcome of this three-month trial could well pave the way for a significant shift in how the gaming industry is perceived and regulated in India, marking a new era in Indian e-sports and digital entertainment.