Hyderabad: Fears of thousands came true when India on Wednesday imposed a ban on the mobile game PUBG (Players Unknown Battleground) alongside 117 other apps with any link to China, citing cybersecurity concerns with tensions at the Line of Actual Control. This is the third instance of the government banning Chinese origin apps since the clashes in the Galwan Valley between Indian and Chinese forces.
The action came after the fresh Chinese incursion attempts in the Indian territory at Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh.
On Wednesday, India’s IT Ministry ordered to ban 118 apps saying that they were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state and public order.” The move will help “safeguard the interests of crores (tens of millions) of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security, and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace,” the ministry said.
Like the Indian government’s ban on a very popular video making app, TikTok from June 29, the ban on PUBG Mobile has also impacted many people, who took to gaming professionally owing largely to the game. A huge massive community of people who took PUBG way too seriously includes gamers among which many of them are still in educational institutes, who became professionals and started competing in tournaments and were featured in broadcasts of the game on popular streaming platforms. According to reports, there are around 33 million active PUBG players in India, and the news has come as a huge shock to them. While some netizens are happy that the online game has been banned, some are sad and unhappy with the decision.
Siasat.com tried to talk to some of the younger Hyderabad-based players, who were regular users of the game or used to play the game at some point. We tried to get answers from them on their opinion regarding the ban on their favourite online mobile game. We got mixed reactions from the youth where a section of gamers criticized the action saying the ban was uncalled for, while many respected the decision and gave positive reactions.
Speaking to Siasat.com, a Hyderabad-based graduate, Salam Aqil expressed his concern towards the negative impact of PUBG on his younger brother and said, “I’ve been playing PUBG since it was launched back in 2017. Though it was a very interesting game, I personally believe that it had a huge negative impact on the young generation especially kids who are playing it. I realized this after I saw my 10-year-old brother who was deeply into the game and was using abusive words while playing. I respect the government’s decision of imposing the ban.”
“Other than addiction, there are also other disadvantages among which growing aggressive behavior in a few players which was creating a mess in their personal lives too. I think this is a better move by the Indian government,” said Wajahat.
“I think PUBG was a time-wasting game. It’s good when you play it for some time or for some relief. But then I used to get hooked on to it a lot, wasting a huge amount of time. Now, I think the government took a better decision. I respect it,” said Md Fazil.
Speaking about the pros of the move by the Indian government, Adil, a Hyderabad based student who is currently pursuing his masters from Australia said, “I think banning of PUBG in India is a very good decision taken by the government which will not only help in cybersecurity of the nation but also would help in protecting the upcoming generation from ruining and getting addicted to the high rated game. I personally welcome the move and respect it.”
Few new gamers also who started indulging in PUBG also felt that the decision took by the government is not only good for the safety and security of the nation but also it will protect the upcoming generation.
One such gamer based in Hyderabad, Abdul Razzaq said, “I started playing PUBG about two months ago and yeah, I liked it a lot and started to get interested in it. And I also felt that it was highly addictive. I felt that the decision taken by the Indian government is pretty fair as I started noticing people were wasting their huge time in it. For the past two months I was becoming one among them. It was not good for our upcoming youth as especially kids who were getting distracted from their studies and were leaning more towards the game.”
“Though PUBG meant a lot to me as I stay all alone here in Hyderabad and used to play to the fullest, somewhere I believe that it’s a good decision by the government and I respect it,” said Mansoor al Zahrani.
“I’ve played PUBG for a very short period of time. It was totally a time-wasting thing and I think such addiction-creating games are not good for our upcoming generation,” said Faizan Riyaz.
“Since past few months, PUBG became a very high rated game and I personally didn’t like that huge craze among people who focused just on games ignoring all other important life events,” stated Akif Syed
“Though I loved the game and was more into it, I somewhere feel that governments have taken a good decision,” said another young player, Zohair Zaid.
“Whatever it is I totally understand about the disputes which are going on with China! Many people were addicted to PUBG which made them stay home and avoid stepping outside in this pandemic. As there is no more PUBG and there are no more chicken dinners, I think people will prefer stepping out,” said Jayesh Vaswani, a student from Hyderabad.
“I think imposing a ban on PUBG is unexpected and unnecessary. I agree with the reason for the dispute at the borders with China but the government should let us know what is going to be achieved by banning the app. The only thing that has been achieved so far is that parents are happy. They are happy because their kids are not playing the game anymore,” said Shoiab Ahmed.
Few players also said that the ‘Safety of the country is above everything’ and the banning of PUBG is not the end of the gaming era. They also urged everyone who was upset with the government’s move to choose alternative games like Call of Duty Mobile, Battlelands Royale, Guns Royale, and Garena Free Fire among others.
Following the ban on PUBG Mobile, professional gamers who used to stream the game on YouTube and other streaming platforms are also urging fans not to worry and move on to other games for entertainment.