A local newspaper in Pakistan reported news calling PUBG a disease and claiming it to have affected at least 5 crore people in the country. The sub-headline is even more shocking, blaming PUBG for its gameplay of “looting from buildings and using guns to shoot down people”. It also claimed that local authorities want to help people get rid of this game by banning PUBG.
However, the news seems to coming from an unreliable source hence no worth. But let’s talk about if PUBG is really affecting people’s life in a harmful way.
PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) was one of the biggest sensations of 2017. The incomplete bug filled version of the game was released through Steam’s early access program and immediately it became a huge hit. Later the game was released on Xbox through its early access program and the Xbox build was even worse.
Bluehole was the main company behind PUBG during its early days now PUBG Corp. is a separate firm that deals with the issues related to PUBG. The main reason why the PC and Xbox version were bad was the amateur developer team. They had expertise in mobile development.
Finally, in December 2017 Bluehole released the mobile version of PUBG mobile and the PUBG fever started. PUBG mobile was free to download and hence became an even big sensation merely in months.
Currently, there are over 50 Million daily users of the PUBG mobile app and the number of users is increasing day by day. The hefty amount of users is mostly located in the Asian and South Asian region where gaming is considered a bad habit.
Many newspapers and schools are reporting parents about this “bad habit.” The headline of a news story was “PUBG Mobile is officially a disease”. Another newspaper reported that many countries are banning PUBG mobile due to the inherent disadvantages of playing games, which is wrong. PUBG Mobile is not banned anywhere in the world actually. Schools are reporting that kids are going crazy over the game and parents should keep an eye on their PUBG Mobile gaming session.
We usually talk about how good or bad a game is, but today we will analyze how a specific game can become a source of chaos for people. There are some games that are bad for everyone like Bluewhale a game that supported the concept of suicide and the game deserved to get banned everywhere. But it is mostly documented that games do have advantages and disadvantages more on the specifics here.
The most obvious advantage of playing a competitive shooter multiplayer (PUBG Mobile genre) game is anger management and many people reported playing games help them in minimizing their anger even my therapist said games help in anger management.
Historically, we can see that whenever a game become popular, haters of the game try to hinder the popularity of the game by making false accusations. Clash of clans was a big success a few years back, with over 15 million online users the game was indeed a hit back then. But due to a fatwa (Islamic jurisdiction), the game was banned in most Muslim countries. Same was the fate of the Pokemon Go another big mobile game.
There are cases where people who play PUBG excessively were recognized as ill but the ratio of the “addicted” users and the overall community is essentially negligible. For example in India, there is only a single case where a 15-year boy was hospitalized due to excessive PUBG sessions.
The problem here is not the game addiction, it’s our smartphone addiction. According to a report published in The Independent a therapist reported, “giving your child a smartphone is like giving them a gram of cocaine”. It’s our smartphone addiction that needs care most importantly, sure there are cases where the game is one to blamed. But mostly our addiction to the smartphone and hence the addiction to PUBG mobile is alarming not the other way around.
The solution to the problem is very simple. We should taper off our smartphone usage gradually. Meet and greet with family and friends and trips are essential to divert our mind from a single thing. Have small gatherings where smartphones are not allowed. When we will manage to get rid of the smartphone addiction we will see that the seemingly “PUBG addiction” will vanish automatically.
There is no harm in playing the game, the game teaches you a thing or two. It teaches you to cooperate, it teaches you to use your resources economically. Insanely long hours of the game are harmful though, the excess of anything is harmful in fact.