A corporate logo of Krafton (Krafton)
South Korean gaming giant Krafton’s popular battle-royale format game Battleground Mobile India, the Indian version of its global smash hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, has been slapped with a download ban in India, its Seoul headquarters confirmed Friday.
Both Google and Apple removed the gaming app from their respective app stores on Thursday, citing the Indian government’s ban order.
"We are still checking on the situation with the local authorities,” a Krafton spokesperson said without further elaborating on details, including the exact reason behind the government order.
“Users in India who had already downloaded the app can still play the game without problems,” the official added.
The latest ban comes after India banned the original version, more widely known as PUBG, along with more than 100 apps that were believed to have been linked to China amid escalating tensions between the two rival countries.
At the time, PUBG was distributed in India by Krafton’s publishing partner Tencent, the Chinese tech giant.
Krafton managed to return to the market last year with the revamped Indian version, also known as BGMI, after cutting ties with Tencent and pledging a $100 million investment aimed at boosting India’s gaming ecosystem. As of July, more than 100 million users have downloaded the new app.
Speculation is growing about the reasons behind the latest ban. Among the speculations, some pointed out a case in June, in which Indian authorities reportedly launched an investigation of a child accused of killing his mother under the influence of BGMI.
Amid investor jitters about the business outlook in one of the key markets for Krafton, its shares suffered a 4.5 percent fall to close at 233,500 won ($180) on Friday. The benchmark Kospi closed 0.67 percent higher compared to the previous trading day.
By Byun Hye-jin (firstname.lastname@example.org)