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Krafton still looking to convince India to lift ban on BGMI

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PUBG developer Krafton Inc has said it is still looking to convince the Indian government to lift the band on Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI).

“Finally, KRAFTON is continuing its efforts to resume services for BGMI and will continue investing in the Indian gaming market,” the company said via a press release.

The Indian government imposed a ban on BGMI at the end of July due to alleged data privacy violations. There were also concerns that the game was linked to China. A Krafton spokesperson said it was likely due to the developer’s connection with Chinese publisher Tencent, which distributes PUBG Mobile.

Krafton immediately announced plans to bring back the game right after India imposed the ban. Players had expected the game to come back by mid-August, but Krafton did not provide a follow-up after that.

This ban has disrupted the distribution of BGMI since players can only play the game’s older version. The developers cannot add new content to the game, and players have reported that they are unable to make in-game purchases. BGMI’s listings on marketplaces like Apple and Google Play have been removed as well.

South Korean Ambassador to India Chang Jaebok discussed the ban during the National Assembly Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee audit in New Delhi. Chang said South Korean representatives had been in touch with the Indian government to resolve the issues.

Krafton’s statement offers hope for Indian players to play the game optimally again, especially after recent server maintenance for BGMI. On December 5, players who still had the game on their phones received a notification about an update. In other parts of the world, Battlegrounds players receive bonuses after updates.

Although Krafton has yet to release an official date for BGMI’s return, rumors have swirled around the community. Popular gaming streamer SaumRaj talked about the possibility of BGMI returning in 2023, asking fans not to lose hope. Another popular streamer, Sardar Ji, also said BGMI could return as early as January 2023.

Professional BGMI player Tanmay “Sc0utOP” Singh also acknowledged rumors that the game would return within the first month of 2023.

“If it does not come back by that time, my assumption is that the game would be relaunched by March 2023,” Singh added.

BGMI is Krafton’s second effort to enter the Indian Market. The game is a rebrand of PUBG Mobile, which was banned by the government in 2020 due to the same reason. At that time, India was at the height of its political tension with China following a dispute surrounding the Himalayan Border.

Krafton Q3 earnings

Despite its setback in the Indian market, Krafton reported a profitable Q3. Compared to last year’s Q3, the company posted a 17 percent growth in net profits.

According to the company, PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS recorded its highest quarterly sales since 2019 at around $99.77 million, growing by 48 percent compared to the same period last year. Krafton attributed this development to the shift to the free-to-play business model, a new map and new collaborative projects.

The ban in India brought down PUBG MOBILE’s sales to $215.94 million compared to last year, despite the introduction of a new map and a collaboration with K-pop superstar BLACKPINK.

Krafton projects steady growth in December since it will release a survival horror game, The Callisto Protocol. The company confirmed that it would acquire Swedish game developer Neon Giant — which created the cyberpunk-themed game The Ascent. In addition to having several shooter games in development for PC and consoles, Krafton plans to establish a studio in Canada to develop a new project.