The problem of PUBG: India does not have much history with popular computer games, unlike the United States or Japan. But now, one of the industry’s titles to kill or die has become a success, and the reaction of the country’s traditionalists is fierce.
Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds is a Hunger Games-type competition in which 100 players compete with machine guns and assault rifles until only one player remains standing.
After the Chinese Tencent Holdings Ltd. introduced a mobile version of the game to death, which is a free game, it has become the most popular smartphone game in the world, with enthusiasts ranging from the United States to Russia and Russia.
Nowhere has the resistance to the game been so similar to India. Many cities banned PUBG, as is well known, and West Indian police arrested 10 college students for playing. The National Commission for the Rights of the Child has recommended prohibiting game due to its violent nature.
One of the largest Hindi newspapers in India said that PUBG was an “epidemic” that turned children into “manorogi” or psychopaths. “There are dangerous consequences to this game,” warned the Navbharat Times in an editorial on March 20. “Many children have lost their mental balance.”
Computer games have outraged parents and politicians for at least 20 years, as Grand Theft Auto first allows players to deal with drugs, hunt prostitutes and kill strangers to steal their cars.
Last year, China experienced its worst crackdown on gaming, blocking the approval of new titles and strengthening control over addiction and adverse health effects.
The difference with India is the speed with which the country landed in the strange digital world without laws or morals. He jumped two decades of debate and adjustment, bringing the era of modern games in a few months.
Rural communities that have never had a PC or game console have received a smartphone in recent years, and wireless service has become affordable for almost everyone after last year’s price war.
With 500 million Internet users looking for entertainment, PUBG has caused a frenzy. A student competition in the southern city of Hyderabad received 250,000 enrollments from more than 1,000 universities. One team went with a prize of 1.5 million rupees ($ 22,000) among the best players of PUBG, just a few days before the arrests this month.
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Aryaman Joshi, 13 years, played in PUBG for a few hours each day and says that all his friends also play. “It’s a bit violent and there are a lot of shots, so the guys like it,” he said. His mother, Gulshan Walia, says he wants to take a realistic approach to the game of Aryaman.
This type of demand suggests the potential of India as a gaming market. Today it is small and generates a small turnover of $ 290 million. But it is already the second largest smartphone market after China and the fastest growing.
“PUBG exploded the online gaming market and showed that India was a very attractive market,” said Lokesh Suji, president of the Indian Sports Federation (Esports) based in Gurgaon.
While the authorities do not drown him first. Local politicians, parents, and teachers expressed their outrage at PUBG, arguing that the game would incite violence and divert students from their academics.
They accused the game of being harassed, robbed and, in one case in Mumbai, the suicide of a teenager. A local minister came to call him “demon in every house.”
At a public meeting last month, a concerned mother complained to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about her son’s dependence on mobile games. “Is this the PUBG?” Modi replied. An 11-year-old boy has even filed a lawsuit in Mumbai court over a ban on the sport.
The South Korean company Bluehole Inc., which created the original PC PUB and then partnered with Tencent for the mobile version, took a cautious approach. The company said it was reviewing the legal basis for bans in different cities and would consult with authorities to find a solution.
“We are working on a healthy game system in India to promote a balanced and responsible game, which includes limiting the playing time of underage players,” the company said.
As the game is so new in India, there is no regulatory policy. However, Tencent currently prohibits players under the age of 13 from playing with PUBG and imposing restrictions, such as real name registrations. In Germany, players under 16 are limited.
A clinic to break down digital addictions, run by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience in Bangalore, is registering several cases of addiction to the PUBG each week.
An 11-year-old PUBG player recently joined the clinic with his parents, who regretted that he wants to leave school to become a professional player of PUBG.
Dr. Manoj Sharma, who runs the clinic, says that creators of games should take on more responsibilities. “There should be a ban for minor players,” he said. “Addiction has reached unprecedented proportions.”