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25 Mar, 2019 17:13

PUBG shooter game facing ban in India for ‘inspiring children to become psychopaths’

PUBG shooter game facing ban in India for ‘inspiring children to become psychopaths’

The world’s most popular mobile game PlayerUnknown's Battleground, AKA PUBG, is facing a nationwide ban in India over concerns that it is turning children into ‘manorogi,’ or psychopaths.

Multiple cities in the country have already outlawed the game, there have been at least 16 arrests of people who ignored the ban and one 11-year-old boy reportedly took gamemaker Tencent to court for promoting violence and cyber-bullying.

Also on rt.com Game over: Indian police arrest 16 people for playing mobile shooter PUBG

The National Child Rights Commission (NCPCR) recommended banning the game because of the violence prevalent throughout. “There are dangerous consequences to this game,” the Navbharat Times warned in an editorial. “Many children have lost their mental balance.”

Mobile internet has only recently opened up to the average consumer in India following a price war between major mobile service providers which pushed prices below the market availability threshold for the majority of Indian citizens, many of whom had never experienced online gaming of any kind before.

READ MORE: Indian police threaten to ARREST those caught playing online shooter game PUBG

With roughly half a billion potential users the potential is huge, though at present, India's gaming market currently totals a paltry US$290 million in revenue, according to the South China Morning Post.

However, one student PUBG competition received 250,000 registrations from more than 1,000 colleges just days before the arrests across India. One team won a tournament with prize money of 1.5 million rupees (US$22,000).  

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However, as gaming is relatively new to India, it lacks any significant regulatory structure around online, or more specifically mobile, gaming. There has been one reported suicide in connection with the game, according to India’s NDTV.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received rapturous applause at the mere mention of the game when asked at an open Q&A with the public recently. “Is that the PUBG one?” Modi said when asked by a concerned mother about her son's gaming addiction.

It remains to be seen which direction the government will go in relation to online and, more specifically, mobile gaming in the near future but there has yet to be any official regulation passed at a national level.

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