Google blocks Krafton’s battle royale game in India, citing government ban

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A Google sign is pictured outside the Google office in Berlin, Germany August 31, 2021. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse/File Photo

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NEW DELHI, July 28 (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O) on Thursday blocked access to a popular Battle Royale format game from South Korean developer Krafton (259960.KS), citing a government order Indian.

In a statement, the US tech giant said the Indian government had ordered the game Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) to be blocked, forcing it to remove the app from its Play Store.

According to the game’s website, it had over 100 million users in India. The blocking comes after another Krafton title, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), was banned in India in 2020.

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“Upon receipt of the order, in accordance with established process, we notified the affected developer and blocked access to the application,” a Google spokesperson said.

BGMI was also unavailable on Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) App Store on Thursday night in India.

The reason for the game crashing was not immediately clear.

Krafton, local Apple representatives and India’s IT ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside of normal business hours.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter said Google had received the government takedown order within the past 24 hours.

Indian authorities cited security risks when banning PUBG, but the move was widely seen as a consequence of deteriorating trade relations between India and China. At the time, Chinese Tencent held the publishing rights to PUBG in India.

The crackdown was part of a broader ban on more than 100 Chinese-origin mobile apps by New Delhi, following a months-long border standoff between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Since then, the ban has been extended to over 300 apps.

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Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Additional reporting by Nupur Anand; Editing by David Evans, Kirsten Donovan

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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