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

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc.’s Google on Thursday blocked access to a popular battle royale format game from South Korean developer Krafton, citing an Indian government order.

Krafton shares fell more than 9% on Friday news, quickly shedding losses to trade 5.7% lower.

In a statement, the US tech giant said India ordered the ban on the game Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) and forced it to remove the app from its Play Store.

The game’s website revealed that it has over 100 million users in India. The ban comes after India banned another Krafton title, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), in 2020.

“Once we received the order, in accordance with the established procedure, we notified the affected developer and blocked access to the application,” said a Google spokesman.

BGMI was also unavailable on Apple Inc.’s App Store in India as of Thursday night.

The reason for the suspension was not immediately clear.

In Seoul, a spokesman for Krafton said the developer is in contact with relevant authorities and companies to determine the exact situation regarding the suspension in India’s two major app stores.

Local officials from Apple and the Indian Ministry of IT did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside normal business hours.

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

India led security risks in banning PUBG, but the move was widely seen as a result of deteriorating trade relations with China. At the time, Chinese Tencent held the publishing rights to PUBG in India.

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

The ban has since been extended to more than 300 apps.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Additional reporting by Nupur Anand and Joyce Lee in Seoul; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Clarence Fernandez)

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