After the sudden ban of PUBG Mobile in 2020, Krafton, the parent company behind the popular battle royale game, released an India-only version of the game called BattleGrounds Mobile India in 2021. On the release, Krafton claimed that BGMI was an entirely new game that was built by a Singapore-based development team with no help from Chinese investor Tencent.
Since its release, BGMI has been surrounded by controversy and protest from some people claiming the game to be the exact copy of the banned PUBG Mobile game.
Anil Stevenson Jangam, a Hyderabad-based advocate had filed a PIL in the Telangana High Court asking for a permanent ban on BGMI. In his PIL, ANil mentions that the game is almost similar to the banned game PUBG Mobile and is developed by a company in which Chinese company, Tencent holds a majority stack and therefore constituted a threat to citizen privacy and posed a national security issue.
As per the PIL filed in the Telegana HC:
“BGMI and the banned application PUBG Mobile are the same game with only cosmetic changes. The new application Battlegrounds Mobile India is fraught with all the dangers its banned earlier version posed to our children and adolescents. Therefore, the new version also deserves to be banned.”
“Chinese Company Tencent Holdings and the Respondent No.3 (Krafton) have employed a circuitous means of re-entering India, by an elaborate process of Front companies, and have sought to hoodwink the Indian Authorities, which is detrimental to the interests of India and its citizens.”
Today an affidavit was filed by N. Samaya Balan representing The Ministry of Entertainment and Information Technology (MEITY) in the Telangana High Court in which he said the “PUBG Mobile app” and the “BGMI app” were not the same and that only the government can restrict computer resources. Additionally, the affidavit also informed the HC that the GOI hasn’t received any official request to prohibit the BGMI app.
The national convenor and president of NGO, Abhay Mishra said that:
“In the ‘so-called new avatar,’ BGMI-PUBG is no different from the erstwhile PUBG, with Tencent still controlling it in the background. Such camouflage activities are nothing but Ravana disguised as a Sadhu.”
While the PIL is still under observation, PRAHAR (NGO) and SJM (RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch) wrote separate letters to Home Minister Amit Shah and Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw, urging them to issue an immediate ban on BGMI and to thoroughly investigate the antecedents and China influence of BGMI-PUBG.