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 order from the Indian government.
In a statement, the U.S. technology giant said the Indian government had ordered the Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) game be blocked, forcing it to remove the app from its Play Store.
According to the game’s website, it had more than 100 million users in India. The block comes after another Krafton title, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), was banned in India in 2020.
“On receipt of the order, following established process, we have notified the affected developer and have blocked access to the app,” a Google spokesperson said.
BGMI was also unavailable on Apple Inc’s App Store on Thursday evening in India.
The reason for blocking the game was not immediately clear.
Krafton, local representatives of Apple and India’s IT ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside regular business hours.
A source with direct knowledge of the matter said Google had received the government take down order in the last 24 hours.
Indian authorities cited security risks when banning PUBG but the move was widely seen as fallout from deteriorating India-China business ties. At the time, China’s Tencent held the publishing rights for PUBG in India.
The crackdown was part of a broader ban of 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 expanded to more than 300 apps.
(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Additional reporting by Nupur Anand; Editing by David Evans, Kirsten Donovan)