Battlegrounds Mobile India does not yet have a release date. The PUBG Mobile alternative is now available for download via the Google Play Store in early access. The developer, Krafton, has yet to make the game available on the Apple App Store. We can expect a formal announcement about the game’s official release date very soon. However, dark clouds have begun to gather over BGMI in the run-up to its release. Several ministers have recently written to the Prime Minister requesting a ban on the PUBG Mobile alternative, citing data security concerns. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark at the Toycathon 2021 may complicate Krafton’s plans to release BGMI in India.
The Prime Minister stated at the Toycathon 2021 that most online/digital games available in the market today are not based on Indian values or concepts. These games either encourage violence or cause mental stress. The PMO India’s tweet made no mention of BGMI. However, based on recent developments before the PM’s tweet on June 24, Krafton may be concerned.
जितने भी ऑनलाइन या डिजिटल गेम्स आज मार्केट में उपलब्ध हैं, उनमें से अधिकतर का कॉन्सेप्ट भारतीय नहीं है।— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 24, 2021
आप भी जानते हैं कि इसमें अनेक गेम्स के कॉन्सेप्ट या तो Violence को प्रमोट करते हैं या फिर Mental Stress का कारण बनते हैं: PM @narendramodi
Ministers have recently called for a ban on BGMI. Ninong Erin, a former Union Minister, and current Arunachal Pradesh MLA were the first to write to the Prime Minister, requesting a ban on BGMI. According to the minister, BGMI is a “Chinese deception” and a threat to Indian citizens’ privacy and security. Abhishek Singhvi, another Member of Parliament, tweeted that the game’s release marks Tencent’s return to India. That isn’t all. CAIT Secretary-General Praveen Khandelwal wrote to Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law and Communications, Electronics and Information Technology, pleading with him to halt the release of BGMI.
To compound matters, another report claimed that Krafton is sending data from BGMI to servers in Beijing, China. The developers later admitted to the data sharing but claimed it was a bug, and a new update has been rolled out to the game that has stopped any sort of data sharing with any Chinese server.
Krafton’s Battlegrounds Mobile India could be jeopardized as a result of the saga. The game was previously banned in its PUBG Mobile form after the Indian government removed over 250 apps from Indian cyberspace, citing their links to Chinese data servers – and highlighting these as avenues that could jeopardize the country’s overall safety and national interest.
Can the government prevent the release of BGMI in India?
This question has a simple and direct answer: no. According to a recent report, developers do not need government approval to launch a game in India. If a game or app does not comply with the country’s rules and regulations, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and MEITY have the authority to ban it. Krafton has stated that it will comply with local regulations. The recent data-sharing fiasco, on the other hand, may bring it under scrutiny.