BGMI returns to India; Indian esports stakeholders react

Image credit: KRAFTON Inc.

KRAFTON, the developer of battle royale game PUBG: Battlegrounds and its India-focused version, Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), has announced the game’s imminent return to the Indian market.

According to the developers, the game is to be available in app stores ‘soon’ after less than a year of absence from India allegedly due to KRAFTON’s ties with Chinese conglomerate Tencent.

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In a statement, KRAFTON’s CEO Hyunil Sohn, commented: “We are highly grateful to the Indian authorities for allowing us to resume operations of BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA (BGMI). We would like to extend our gratitude to our Indian gaming community for their support and patience over the past few months.

“We are excited to announce that BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA will be available for download soon and we cannot wait to welcome you back to our platform. We believe in the power of gaming to bring people together and create unforgettable experiences.”

The announcement comes after a 10-month period of absence from India, and the return is a result of a long-time collaboration between KRAFTON and the Indian government, according to the developer. BGMI was first released in 2021 after its original game PUBG Mobile was itself banned in India.

Esports Insider has received comments from various Indian esports stakeholders reacting to the news. Animesh Agarwal, CEO of 8Bit Creatives, a company that represents a number of BGMI content creators, expressed joy for the return of the game.

Agarwal noted that the move is sure to “infuse new energy into the Indian gaming industry”, and that players, fans and audiences showed great resilience during the recent period. “We are looking forward to accelerating this journey, with renewed vigour,” he added.

Lokesh Suji, Director of the Esports Federation of India and VP of the Asian Esports Federation, highlighted that the game is sure to undergo changes to make sure it adheres to the rules set by the Indian government. However, there is an aura of optimism about the growth the popular game brings back into the ecosystem.

Suji said: “With Esports getting official recognition from the government and the community adapting well to the absence of BGMI by expanding other titles, we eagerly anticipate the exponential growth that the sector will experience now that the game is back in the picture.”

Meanwhile, SkyesportsFounder and CEO, Shiva Nandy, emphasised that the game was an integral part of the Indian esports roadmap and that, while India has diversified into other titles, the fanbase is still there and Skyesports looks forward to integrating the game into the Skyesports League, the Skyesports Championship and more events in the future.

“The return of the game comes at a great time and will ensure a growth of India’s gaming and esports industry,” Nandy added.

Finally, the Founder and CEO of Indian esports organisation Revenant Esports, Rohit Jagasia, noted that there were signs of the game’s possible return for a while now, and the organisation has reacted accordingly by signing two players ahead of BGMI’s return.

He said: “The game’s return will definitely be a huge boost to the entire esports industry and reopen revenue streams for all stakeholders.”

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.