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PUBG Mobile Banned In India. Guess We’ll Actually Have To Talk To Each Other Now?

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My gamer friends are mired in an existential crisis right now. Amidst the rising border tensions with China, the Government of India has banned 118 mobile apps, most of which are of Chinese origin. To say the list also included PUBG is an understatement. PUBG is the only one driving much concern right now, because just like the already banned Tik Tok, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds is a hugely popular app with India’s youth.

So now, from debating whether PUBG is really even a Chinese app in the first place and wondering if PM Modi banned the app as sweet vengeance for students bestowing major dislikes on his recent Mann Ki Baat video on YouTube, to making memes about the plight of India’s heart-wrenched gaming youth population, a lot of conversation is happening on the Internet!

Could the PUBG ban be a blessing in disguise?

Now look here, I am all for freedom of expression and practicing whatever gaming religion we want in our democratic country. In fact, IMHO, I don’t think banning apps is even going to help here. But since ‘finding the silver lining’ is our favourite activity of 2020, Imma find you one.

Have you heard of Internet gaming disorder (IGD)? A study published in Science Daily, defines IGD as “a condition characterized by compulsive playing of online games to the exclusion of other interests. Individuals with IGD often suffer significant impairment or distress and may experience negative effects at work, in school or in relationships because of the amount of time they spend playing. They also show symptoms of withdrawal when not playing.” Does that sound like anyone we know?

PUBG players, for sure. It’s not like people weren’t gaming before PUBG arrived, flashing its chicken dinner. We’ve all seen hordes of uncle aunties even being addicted to Candy Crush and Farmville. Even our own days of playing Super Mario Bros, GTA Vice City, Counterstrike and Contra are reminiscent of how compulsive gaming can be. But PUBG was quite an unrivalled phenomenon, crossing even the craziness of Pokémon Go, only because the latter wasn’t legally launched in India until much later.

File:A Player Playing PUBG Mobile.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Representational Image: Wikimedia Commons

In fact, so obsessed was the Indian youth with playing PUBG that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi was hyper-aware about it! Remember when a mother asked the PM to guide her about dealing with her son, who was a gaming addict and wouldn’t focus on studies. PM Modi immediately asked, “Yeh PUBG wala hai kya?”

The study I cite above also spoke about how the disorder affected impulse control in men’s brains more than it did in women’s. Which means that it was harder for them to resist the addiction of the game. It became a common sight to see young boys spends endless hours playing PUBG on their phones, ignoring other pursuits like academics, outdoor sports, reading and even socialising with their family and peers. Now I know you’ll say, “But what about my PUBG gang, friends who’d come over so we could play together?” Umm, yeah, sorry about that.

Clearly, parents are on seventh heaven with this news.

Also Read: 5 Affordable Indian Websites And Apps To Get Your Fashion Fix Since Chinese Fashion Brands Like Shein And Club Factory Are Out

The dangers Of a PUBG addiction

In an interview with India Today, the Chief Editor of Momspresso had explained why PUBG was more addictive than most other games like, say, Candy Crush.

“Most games, even the violent ones, test your skills and reflexes. Here, it goes beyond and ticks that very base human characteristic of taking great pleasure in spoiling the fun of other players.In PUBG, surviving a round means that 99 other people did not and that itself is a huge surge of adrenaline.”

Moreover, there’s also the incredible visuals, the live chat option, and the semi-social nature of the game that allows you to gather your friends and play with them from the comfort of your own home, that made the game even more appealing. In a time like lockdown, what else do you need?

A PUBG addiction can actually be quite dangerous. Remember that patch in 2019, when news upon news came in about how young boys were embroiled in violent accidents and even crimes over being denied the game? Two youths were so engrossed in playing PUBG that they didn’t see an oncoming train! Another youth drank acid instead of water because he was so lost in the gameplay. A Mumbai youth was denied his phone to play the game by his parents, and he committed suicide. Yet another youth lost his entire school year because he began suffering from IGD, while another kid died after playing the game continuously for 45 days.

Wait, does a PUBG ban mean we’ll have to talk to each other again?

You know all those sexist memes about a girlfriend asking her boyfriend to choose between PUBG and her, and he choses gaming? Well, guess who’s having the last laugh now?

Okay, jokes apart, this is where the existential crisis come in. You can actually picture PUBG players emerging out of some kind of a stupor, and suddenly realising they have a lot of free time on their hands. Not lost in their phones anymore, we might just have to talk to each other, have real conversations, and probably go to real places and not Pochinki. As for that chicken dinner, we’ll probably not be gulping it down fast so we can go back to gaming, but instead, enjoy every morsel of the real deal.

Hang on, who am I kidding? Reliance Jio might already be working on an Indian version of the app called JioG or something! See you in different battlegrounds, players!

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