Google blocks Battle Royale game in India, cites government ban

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

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NEW DELHI, July 29 (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL.O) Google on Thursday blocked access to a popular battle-royale game from South Korean developer Krafton (259960.KS)Quoting an order from the Indian government.

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

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

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The game website showed that it has more than 100 million users in India. The ban comes after India’s 2020 ban on another Crafton title, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).

“Upon receipt of the request, following the specified process, we notified the affected developer and blocked access to the app,” a Google spokesperson said.

BGMI was also not available on Apple Inc (AAPL.O) Thursday evening app store in india.

The reason for the ban was not immediately clear.

In Seoul, a Krafton spokesperson said the developer was talking to relevant authorities and companies to find out the exact position regarding suspensions on two major app stores in India.

Local representatives of Apple and India’s Ministry of Information Technology did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside normal business hours.

A source familiar with the matter said that Google received the government’s takedown order within the past 24 hours.

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India cited security risks when banning PUBG, but the move was widely seen as the fallout from the deteriorating trade relations with China. At the time, China’s Tencent owned the copyrights to PUBG in India.

The crackdown was part of New Delhi’s ban of more than 100 mobile apps of Chinese origin, after a months-long border standoff between the two nuclear-armed foes.

The ban has since expanded to include more than 300 apps.

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(Monsef Vengateel and Aditya Kalra report) from New Delhi; Additional reporting by Nupur Anand and Joyce Lee in Seoul. Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Clarence Fernandez

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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