2022 might go down in history as the most impactful year for Indian esports. Government bans led to Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) getting taken off the shelves but its tale may not have ended just yet. BGMI was easily the most popular game in Indian esports, but it has been out of commission for five months. However, recent developments at the Government of India may lead to good news for players.
Esports and Gaming Officially Recognized Under Indian Ministries
The President of India Droupadi Murmu released a notification for the Cabinet Secretariat revealing that esports in India is now a part of “multi-sports events” under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) Promotion Task Force has also drafted a framework that could shape the future of esports in India as we know it.
The task force has outlined the importance of the online gaming sector which grew by 28% in 2021 and reached over USD $1.22 billion in valuation. BGMI was the number one mobile esports title that has contributed to the sector since its release and players are anxiously waiting for its return.
In 2022, the iQOO Battlegrounds Mobile India Series was the most viewed esports event in India with over 15 Million hours of watch time and over 460,000 peak concurrent viewers. BGMI also had the biggest prize pool for a single event in the Indian esports scene this year with the Battlegrounds Mobile India Pro Series Season 1 offering $260,577 in prize money. The second largest event was the BGMI Masters Series by NODWIN Gaming with over $190,923 up for grabs.
The reasons behind the ban on the game have been attributed to the , the defense of India, and the security of the state under Section 69A of the Indian IT Act. The Government of India never clarified the reason behind the ban and we still do not know the reasons behind the ban officially.
Will BGMI Come Back?
With esports being recognized as an important sector in India, it is possible that BGMI will come back owing to the massive impact it had in the country’s esports. Similar to the previous PUBG Mobile ban, it is possible that internal changes to BGMI to adhere to the country’s regulations could get the game reinstated on the mobile storefronts.
However, players need to note that if there are indeed serious security threats posed by the game, the Government will put the country’s best interests ahead of a single game, no matter how popular it is and what it means to a single industry. But fans shouldn’t be disheartened just yet. Krafton has been for a game that isn’t even live and many are speculating that the developers are working on bringing the game back as soon as possible.
Until we get official news from the horse’s mouth, it’s all speculation and we can only hope BGMI fans get their hands on the game again. The official recognition of esports and gaming marks a huge milestone and it could be the biggest moment in Indian esports till date. With or without BGMI, the future of Indian esports is looking bright.