There is no doubt that PUBG Mobile is one of the most popular mobile games. In its one year of existence, the game has not only become a global phenomenon but has also managed to organise some of the biggest gaming tournaments. At the same time, the immense popularity of the game has led to some negative effects.
Since the game is free of cost and is easily accessible on any Android or iOS smartphone, it has become an addiction for many. So much so, we have heard reports of students completely ignoring studies, performing poorly in examinations and even some extreme cases of violence, self-harm and even suicide. Various state authorities and ministers have also raised their concerns calling the game a ‘demon’ and source of addiction that is rotting youngsters’ minds.
In a recent case, a teen withdrew money from his father’s bank account to purchase a PUBG game controller as well as weapons for the online game, the Jalandhar police said on Saturday. The matter came to light after the father filed a police complaint on January 20, citing that around Rs 50,000 had been withdrawn from his bank account.
Last week, various cities in Gujarat including Surat, Rajkot and a bunch of districts had banned the game by releasing a notice. Police officials were quite stern about the ban and had issued statements that the issue would not be taken loosely. A circular letter to ban PUBG Mobile was also sent to a number of primary education officers of the district to collectively make an effort to reduce the number of incidents arising from the game addiction. Even the Chairperson of Gujarat Child rights body has sent a circular to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) of all states to help curb the negative effects of the game.
The ban on PUBG Mobile was issued starting March 9 with no confirmation whether it is temporary or will be permanent. However, we did hear that it will stay until April 30. As per the notice, anyone can file a complaint and inform the nearest police station against people playing the game and action will be taken against them under Central Government Act under Section 188.
During the ban, we heard multiple cases in various cities where the police have now arrested close to 20 people playing the popular game. Notably, the people have been arrested on the grounds of violating a direct state order but have been released immediately on bail.
Even then, the idea of being arrested because you were just playing a game on your mobile phone is just scary.
Following the events of bans and arrests, PUBG Mobile has officially released a statement:
“PUBG Mobile is a game. It is meant merely for entertainment and should be enjoyed in a healthy and responsible manner. In consonance with our endeavor to continue promoting responsible gaming experience, we are working on the introduction of a healthy gameplay system in India to promote balanced, responsible gaming, including limiting play time for under-aged players. We were thus surprised to learn that local authorities in a few cities have decided to impose a ban on playing our game. We are working to understand the legal basis of such bans, and hope we can have a constructive dialogue with relevant authorities to explain our objectives and that they withdraw the prohibition. To PUBG Mobile players, we want to assure you that we are on your side and we will try our best to find a reasonable solution.”
What do you think about banning the game? Do you think it is justified?