Following health concerns and a spike on the national suicide rate, the titular FPS game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) has been banned in Pakistan.
The controversial block has been a topic of debate on social media.
Many Indian players are also demanding for the game to be banned, urging the government to take appropriate actions over the addictive game.
The Pakistani Government Authority (PTA) called PUBG as an “addictive” game and a “waste of time.”
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, a famous global FPS title, revolves on players jumping on an isolated island and fighting for survival using the various loot they find.
Because of the game’s additive nature, it has been seen as a threat for bringing negative health effects on its players. In particular, they cited children’s physical and psychological health.
Three suicides in Pakistan have been linked to PUBG during recent weeks.
In late June, 16-year-old Mohammad Zakarya reportedly committed suicide after missing an assigned in-game task. Local media even reported that his mobile phone was found with the PUBG game still running.
The boy’s father confirmed his son’s PUBG obsession:
“It was purely a case of addiction as the boy used to play PUBG game for several hours a day.”
The excessive violent nature of the FPS game could potentially trigger aggressive behavior in its players. Also, addiction and innate compulsion to complete missions can cause agony and anxiety. This may result in depression and stress.
The PTA said it has started receiving complaints about the game, which served as the major deciding factor for the title’s temporary ban in the country.
“PTA has received numerous complaints against PUBG wherein it is stated that the game is addictive, wastage of time and poses serious negative impact on physical and psychological health of the children.”
They further cited the inceasing number of recent PUBG-related suicide incidents:
“According to media reports, cases of suicide attributed to PUBG game have been reported. Honorable Lahore High court has also directed PTA to look into the issue and decide the matter after hearing the complainants.”
The council is slated to take feedback from the general public on July 10 over the decision.
It can determine whether or not the game will remain suspended or restored for Pakistani players.
Center of controversies
This is not the first time for PUBG to be banned on a nationwide scale. It has been the center of controversies for a while now, citing physical and mental health concerns.
The game has also been heavily criticized in Iraq, Nepal, India and China.
In an attempt to promote healthy gaming behaviors, PUBG released its ‘Gameplay Management System’ to remind players to take a break in between long hours of play time.
It automatically blocks the game if the player has been playing more than 2 hours in a day.
However, rising cases of children taking their own lives and the game’s effects on their mental and physical health continue to spark national controversy in Pakistan.