If you grew up in India of the ’90s or the ’00s, it is a story as old as time itself. Come exam time and parents, teachers and even well-meaning neighbours will advise you to stay away from comic books and televisions. Nintendo consoles gathered dust over semester exams and parks wore a deserted look.
In 2019, things aren’t any different, except mobile phones have become a vital part of most young adults’ existence, and so have mobile games. And these days, PUBG Mobile is on top of gaming charts, and indeed a rage with most youngsters.
And like most popular things that dare to exist around exam-time, the game has landed into hot water with Jammu and Kashmir Students Association, who believe that the game is solely responsible for falling grades of X and XII grade students in the state.
So incensed is the student body, that it has requested J&K governor Satya Pal Singh to go ahead and have PUBG Mobile banned in India. Deputy chairman of JKSA, Rafiq Makhdoomi asserted, “The addiction to this game has become more concerning than addiction to drugs as we get to see youngsters 24 hours on their mobile phones and playing the game and doing nothing.”
It’s quite clear that the game is being made to become a bit of a scapegoat here. And that’s only because it’s quite easy to shrug responsibility of a young population. Wanting a ban on a game because of bad results sounds a bit like throwing a blanket on an attacking animal, hoping it will disappear.
Unlike the 99-in-1 LCD handheld games of the yore, PUBG Mobile is an MMO that’s enjoyed by not just school kids, but also adults, and can’t be locked in a cupboard till the report card is out. A PUBG Mobile ban sounds almost incredulous.
For one, in this situation, it looks like the massive scale of the game is being underestimated. While it may only be starting to rub shoulders with Fortnite when it comes to popularity, the game has amassed $1 billion in revenue just last year. And that’s no mean amount.
PUBG Mobile’s popularity in India also extends to a series tournament, for which registrations are underway.
Are mobile games addictive on a certain level? Sure, just ask casual gamers in buses and local trains, who’ve reached triple-digit levels on Candy Crush. However, policing minors and making sure kids don’t go overboard should be the responsibility of parents — like it always has been.
For if not PUBG, one can always find something else to get addicted to.
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