BGMI ban coming? Battlegrounds Mobile India to face same fate as Garena Free Fire?
BGMI ban: After the ban of the popular online multiplayer battle royale game Garena Free Fire in India, a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) has been filed in the Telangana High Court that is looking for a similar ban to be imposed on Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) too. The PIL was filed to find out what the legal status of BGMI in India actually is. In the past, PUBG, the predecessor of BGMI, was banned due to its connection with China. In fact, BGMI is a clone of PUBG mobile app. But PUBG game made a comeback as BGMI in India under the South Korean publishers KRAFTON and has been approved by the government. Now, this new PIL has worried gamers about whether the new game might face a ban too. The official response was not long in coming. Yesterday, the MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) responded to the High Court.
The ministry informed Telangana High Court that the ‘PUBG mobile app' and ‘BGMI app' are different and not the same. Representing the MeitY, N Samaya Balan also said that only the government has the power to restrict computer access. On a separate note, the ministry also noted that no such request relating to BGMI ban was received by the government. The responses by the government indicate that KRAFTON's popular title is not in any danger of being banned for the time being.
BGMI ban: why the fears of ban
After the shocking ban of Garena Free Fire on Valentine's day last month, many were concerned if there will be more bans slapped on other apps. Free Fire's ban was particularly intriguing as the app was not by a Chinese company but a Singaporean firm called Sea Ltd. The founder of the company Forrest Li, although born Chinese, was at present a resident of Singapore. Despite that, the ban was served due to Chinese connections confirmed by the government. Recently, RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch said that the government should carefully investigate ‘the antecedents and China influence' of Battlegrounds Mobile India and should take ‘immediate action if found in violation', according to PTI.
Other establishments including a non-profit organization PRAHAR was also seeking BGMI ban. However, it should be noted that after the first ban on PUBG by Tencent, the parent company KRAFTON took over and rebuilt the game for Indian markets after taking into consideration all government's apprehensions. Therefore, the chances of a ban being imposed on the app remain very slim.
It will also be interesting to see whether Sea Ltd. takes the same route as PUBG creator did and bring Garena Free Fire back from the dead.