The entire Indian community got a huge shock when BGMI was delisted from the Google Play Store and App Store on July 28. The potential ban was handed to the game by the Indian government under section 69 A of the Information Technology Act.
The ban has created a tense environment in the esports community. In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Orangutan Gaming's Shubham "Driger" Quiriyal and Vedang "Vedzz" Chavan commented on how BGMI's ban can adversely affect the Indian esports ecosystem.
Orangutan Gaming's Vedz and Driger share their thoughts on BGMI's potential ban
Q. What was your first reaction when you first heard about the ban news and how is everyone around you coping up with the matter?
Vedzz: So, I got to know about this six o'clock on July 28 after getting a call from my friend and was shocked. With the game being just a year old, getting banned wasn't expected at all. We are waiting for the official announcement.
Driger: We are both on the same page. I am in shock in as well. I am just hoping for the best.
Q. Now that Free Fire and BGMI are both banned, do you think this will give a chance for other mobile and PC games to shine in the Indian market? Also, what will be Orangutan's approach in this matter?
Vedzz: Free Fire and BGMI were the two biggest games in terms of viewership count, money circulation, and other matters. With both getting banned, it's time for other games to come to the forefront and obtain great viewership. Gamers in India are never going to stop. They will definitely try out new games like Wildrift and Call of Duty Mobile.
However, in Orangutan, the management makes the final call about shifting to other alternatives. As of now, we are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that BGMI comes back soon.
Q. BGMI esports has always been on a rise. How do you think the ban will impact the ecosystem?
Vedzz: This isn't the first time a game has been banned in India. It was as shocking back then as it is right now. We at Orangutan have begun playing since BGMI was introduced and we recently had back-to-back podium finishes in tournaments.
The last ban on PUBG Mobile massively affected the Indian esports. The gap between the Indian and international teams was evident during PMGC 2021. This time around, we are hoping that the game gets back soon. However, if it does not, Indian esports is going to get pushed further down the line. In addition, a lot of careers will be affected.
Q. Several upcoming tournaments have been stalled due to the potential ban. What are your plans in the near future?
Driger: The situation is very tense right now. We as teammates had a conversation about the ban and we decided to stick together as a team. However, it's all up to the management to make the final call. I believe that whatever the government decides will be beneficial for us and them as well.
Vedzz: The competitive environment has dropped a bit after the news as everyone is worried and skeptical about their future. However, everyone is hoping that the game will be back soon.
Q. How do you think Battlegrounds Mobile India and esports in general will be seen as a viable career option after the game's comeback?
Driger: Since this is the second ban, it has struck terror in the mind of esports players. I keep on wondering whether this is a reliable career option. So when the game comes back, I hope the government regulates it more so that the next generations would feel secure choosing gaming as a career option.
Vedzz: Talking about myself, BGMI came to me with a ray of hope. The way the game flourished gave my parents an assurance that I was doing something productive. However, the sudden ban has left us with no other options to reconsider.
This is a serious setback as parents are now thinking that this is probably not as sustainable as it looked when tournaments were telecast on TV and streaming platforms. Compared to other regular jobs, esports is again deemed as the last option.
Q. Critics have mentioned before that the PUBG Mobile ban pushed India one year down the line. How much of a negative impact do you think the ban on BGMI will have on Indian teams?
Vedzz: Critics were right when they said that we are lacking behind international teams and the same will happen if this ban continues for a longer period of time. No matter how much we progressed, it has been done on the domestic circuit. We have played against the top teams in multiple tournaments. We know their game styles, their rotations, and gun-power.
However, it is a different game altogether when you go abroad and play global tournaments. We haven't played against them in over two years, which makes it harder for us. Back in PUBG Mobile, we could play international lobbies regularly, but now in BGMI, only one or two teams can qualify from domestic tournaments and play in international events. The ban will widen the gap further.
Q. Krafton had invested millions a few weeks back for the development of the game. How do you think will the ban impact them and other foreign investors looking to plying their trade in India in mobile, PC, and console gaming?
Driger: I heard Krafton has invested in LOCO and Nodwin Gaming and has set up their office in India. With such big investments, Krafton should talk to the Indian government and inform them about their losses and try to get things back on track.
Vedzz: The ban is definitely going to impact foreign investments in gaming. Investors will not be expecting their businesses to flourish with such frequent bans. However, proper regulations of rules can change things.