PUBG is one of the most popular online multiplayer Battle Royale titles. A big chunk of the game’s success is attributed to its Mobile version, because of which it managed to reach an active player count of 30 million. As per a recent survey by the free internet provider Jana, smartphones are said to be the most favourable devices for PUBG players in India. However, the game has been viewed in a negative light because it is being blamed for being addictive and promoting violence. There have been several demands for bans and/or imposing a restriction on the game in India and the game developers have issued a statement addressing the problem.
In its statement, PUBG Mobile team says, “We appreciate the support and trust given to us by our PUBG MOBILE players. While we strive to deliver the best possible gaming experience to our fans, we also believe that it is extremely important for us to be a responsible member of the gaming ecosystem. To this end, we constantly work and shall continue to work with different stakeholders, including parents, educators and government bodies, and listening to their feedback on what we can do to enhance the overall PUBG MOBILE experience.”
Adding to the statement, the team says, “To foster a healthy and balanced in-game environment, we are developing numerous new features and enhancements which enables us to provide an environment for players to enjoy PUBG MOBILE in a rewarding and responsible manner. We are honored to have a passionate community of PUBG MOBILE players in India and globally and continue to welcome their feedback to make PUBG MOBILE the best game ever!” It is yet to be known what new features the game developers have in store for helping play the game in a responsible manner and how these new enhancements affect the overall reception of the game by players.
The statement by PUBG Mobile team comes after the Gujarat government's primary education department reportedly issued a circular to implement a ban on PUBG. The government has asked district authorities to implement the ban. An 11-year-old child has also filed a PIL, moving the Bombay high court to impose a ban on PUBG as it “promotes immoral conduct such as violence, murder, aggression, looting, gaming addiction and cyberbullying". The IT Minister of Goa also recently said that it should be restricted as it is a “demon in every house”.
The game is so well known that the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, referred to it at a recent event. In an event called “Pariksha pe Charcha 2.0” (Discussions on Exams 2.0), the mother of a class-IX student said that her son is so inclined towards online gaming that it is affecting his studies. She asked the PM for a solution for this to which Modi replied, “Ye PUBG wala hai kya?” (Is he one of the PUBG players?).
However, as we know, anything in excess can be harmful, be it games or social media. There have been cases like a 15-year old student undergoing treatment for PUBG addiction as he would play the game till late at night and skip school the next day. Parents/guardians need to ensure that children are not spending too much time in front of a screen. Game developers promising support and help for people so that they get to experience the game in a healthy manner is also good news. It's possible PUBG developers could be looking at some digital wellbeing tools to keep playtime in check.
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