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India prohibits online game PUBG



PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is a sultsgame style contest, with 100 players facing out with machine guns and assault rifles until only one is left. (Bloomberg pic)

BANGALORE: India doesn't have much history with popular computer games, unlike the US or Japan. But now one of the industry's killed or killed titles has become a smash hit – and the backlash of the country's traditionalists is wild.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is a hunger game contest, with 100 players facing out with machine guns and attack rifles until only one is left.

After China's Tencent Holdings has launched a free-to-play mobile version of the Death Battle, it has become the most popular smartphone game in the world with US enthusiasts to Russia to Malaysia.

Nowhere has resistance to the game been right India. Several cities have banned PUBG, as is known, and police in the Caribbean arrested 10 college students to play. The National Children's Rights Commission has recommended excluding the game for its violent nature.

One of India's largest Hindi newspapers declared PUBG an "epidemic" that made children "manorogy" or psychopaths. "There are dangerous consequences for this game," warned Navbharat Times in a March 20 editorial. "Many children have lost their mental balance."

Computer games have troubled parents and politicians for at least 20 years when Grand Theft Auto first lets players treat drugs, pimp out prostitutes and kill strangers to steal their cars. [19659003] Only last year did China go through its most serious breakdown of games, freezing the approval of new titles and intensifying the study of addiction and harmful health problems.

What is different about India is the speed that the country has landed in the strange digital world without laws or morals. It shot over two decades of debate and adjustment that blew into the modern gaming era in a matter of months.

Rural areas that never had PCs or game consoles got smartphones in recent years – and wireless services were just affordable for virtually anyone after a price war last year.

With half a billion internet users looking for entertainment, PUBG has hit a frenzy. A student competition in the southern city of Hyderabad received 250,000 registrations from more than 1,000 colleges.

A team went away with a prize of 1.5 million rupees (US $ 22,000) as the best PUBG players just days before this month's arrests. [19659003] Aryaman Joshi, 13, has played PUBG for a couple of hours every day and says all his friends are also playing. "It's a bit violent and there are many shots, so boys like me like that," he said. His mother, Gulshan Walia, says she wants to take a realistic approach to Aryaman's game play.

That kind of demand gives a hint on India's potential as a gaming market. It is small today and generates a negative US $ 290 million in revenue. But it is already the world's second largest smartphone market, after China, and the fastest growing.

"PUBG has made the online gaming market growing and demonstrated that India is a very attractive market," said Lokesh Suji, Gurgaon-based manager of the Esports Federation of India.

As long as the authorities do not shock it first. Local politicians, parents, and teachers have expressed horror at PUBG and argue that the game will stimulate violence and divert students from their graduates.

They are blamed for the fight for bullying, stealing and in a Mumbai case a teenager's suicide. A local minister went so far as to characterize it as "the demon in every house."

At a public meeting last month, a worried mother complained to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about her son's dependence on mobile games. "Is it PUBG one?" Modes shot back. An 11-year-old filed a public interest trial in a Mumbai court trying to ban the game.

South Korea's Bluehole Inc., which made the original PUBG for PCs and then collaborated with Tencent on the mobile version, has taken a cautious approach.

The company said it is looking at the legal basis of the ban in different cities and will allow the authorities to find a solution. "We are working on the introduction of a healthy gameplay system in India to promote balanced, responsible gaming, including limitation of playing time for underground players," the company said.

Because games are so new in India, there are no regulatory policies in place. On the other hand, Tencent currently prohibits players in China under the age of 13 from playing PUBG and imposing restrictions such as real-name registrations. In Germany, players under the age of 16 are limited.

A digital addiction clinic operated by the country's National Institute for Mental Health and Neuroscience in Bangalore records several PUBG addiction cases each week.

An 11-year-old PUBG player recently entered the clinic with his parents, who complained that he wanted to finish school to become a professional PUBG gamer.

Dr. Manoj Sharma, who heads the clinic, claims that gaming makers should take more responsibility. "There should be a ban on minors," he said. "Dependence has never reached proportions."


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