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

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

A Google sign is pictured 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’s ( GOOGL.O ) Google on Thursday blocked access to a popular battle royale format game from South Korean developer Krafton ( 259960.KS ), citing an order from the Indian government.

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

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

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

“Upon 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 ( AAPL.O ) App Store on Thursday evening in India.

The reason for the blocking was not immediately clear.

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

Local representatives for 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 authority’s takedown order within the past 24 hours.

India cited security risks when it banned PUBG, but the move was widely seen as a result of deteriorating business relations with China. At the time, China’s Tencent held the publishing rights for PUBG in India.

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

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

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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

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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