Unlike the United States or Japan, India does not have much history with popular computer games. But now one of the kill-kill-kill titles in the industry is a huge hit – and the counter-reactions of the country's traditionalists are cruel.
PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds is a Hunger Games style In this contest, 100 players compete in machine guns and assault rifles until only one remains.
After introducing a mobile version of the Death Match that can be played for free, China's Tencent Holdings is the most popular smartphone game in the world, with enthusiasts from the US, Russia and Malaysia.
Nowhere is the resistance to India so great as in India. Several cities have forbidden PUBG as it is known, and police in the West Indies have detained ten university students for playing. The National Children's Rights Commission has recommended blocking the game because of its violent nature.
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One of India's biggest Hindi newspapers declared PUBG an "epidemic" that turns children into "Manorogi" or psychopaths did. "This game has dangerous consequences," warned the Navbharat Times in a March 20 editorial. "Many children have lost their mental balance."
Computer games have outraged parents and politicians for at least 20 years, since Grand Theft Auto first time players can exchange drugs, strangers kill and strangers can steal their cars.
It was not until last year that China faced the toughest raid on games, froze approval for new titles, and stepped up testing for addictions and health problems.
What makes India different is the speed with which the land has landed the foreign digital world without laws or morality. Two decades of debates and adjustments were skipped and left within a few months in the modern gaming era.
Rural communities that did not have PCs or game consoles have been receiving smartphones in recent years – and the wireless service has become affordable for almost everyone over the last year.
With half a billion Internet users searching for entertainment, PUBG has triggered a rage.
A student competition in the southern city of Hyderabad received 250,000 enrollments from more than 1,000 colleges. Just a few days before the arrests this month, a team was awarded 1.5 million rupees (about $ 31,000) as a top player PUBG .
The 13-year-old Aryaman Joshi (13999005) PUBG has already played in 1956 for a few hours a day and says all his friends play as well. "It's a bit violent and a lot of shooting, so guys like me like it," he said. His mother, Gulshan Walia, says she wants to find a realistic approach to Aryaman's game.
This demand suggests India's potential as a gambling market. Today, it's tiny and generates a whopping $ 290 million in revenue. But it is the second largest smartphone market in the world after China and the fastest growing.
" PUBG has skyrocketed the online gambling market, showing that India is a very attractive market," said Lokesh Suji, the Gurgaon-based chief of the Esports Federation of India.
As long as the authorities do not stifle him. Local politicians, parents and teachers have voiced outrage over PUBG by arguing that the game abets violence and rejects students from their academics.
They blamed the game for mobbing, theft and in a Mumbai case suicide of a teenager. A local minister went so far as to characterize him 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 this the PUBG ?" Modi shot back. An eleven-year-old boy even filed suit with a court in Mumbai to apply for a ban on the game.
South Korea's Bluehole, which made the original PUBG for PCs and then partnered with Tencent. The mobile version has chosen a cautious approach.
The company claimed to examine the legal basis of bans in various cities and will seek a solution with the authorities. "We are working to introduce a healthy gameplay system in India to promote balanced, responsible gaming, including limiting playing time for underage players," the company said.
Because playing in India is so new, there is no regulatory policy in place. In contrast, Tencent is currently banning players in China under the age of 13 from playing PUBG and imposes restrictions such as real name registrations. In Germany, players under 16 are restricted.
A digital addiction prevention clinic run by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience in Bangalore records several PUBG addiction cases each week.
An 11-year-old PUBG player recently came to the clinic with his parents, who complained that he wanted to leave school to become a professional player.
Dr. Manoj Sharma, who heads the clinic, argues that game makers need to take more responsibility. "There should be a ban on underage players," he said. "Addiction has never reached proportions before."