Inside PUBG Ban: What Country’s Youth Thinks About The Government’s Move?

The Information & Technology ministry banned PUBG along with 118 other apps on Wednesday. This is the third instance of the government banning Chinese origin apps since the clashes in Galwan valley.

Released on 23rd March, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) was a rage among the youth within the first few days. First launched by South Korean company Bluehole for PCs, PUBG was later launched for mobile phones after the company joined hands with Chinese gaming company Tencent. The evolved graphics and ease in multiplayer mode attracted millions of users throughout the three years PUBG operated in India. There are around 33 million PUBG players in the country, according to reports. The popular gaming app cloaked around 13 million daily users before it was banned.

Amid India-China Crisis

The Information & Technology ministry banned PUBG along with 118 other apps on Wednesday. This is the third instance of the government banning Chinese origin apps since the clashes in Galwan valley between Indian and Chinese forces. After the recent skirmishes in the Pangong Tso area, where according to the reports China had grabbed 1000 Sq. Kms land, India released the third list of banned apps. The government said the banned apps were prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity, and defence of the nation.

Social Media Flooded

After the announcement was made, young students and professionals, who would play the game to relieve after a hectic day, said the ban was uncalled for. Memes and reaction flooded social media on Wednesday, some of them even jokingly said that just because students disliked the Prime Minister’s Mann Ki Baat video in massive numbers, the PM took revenge by blocking their favourite game.

HW news tried to talk to some of the young 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 why PUBG was such a rage, what does the ban on the app means for youth, and was the ban really necessary?

Why Was PUBG So Successful?

“I have been playing this game since it was launched back in March 2017. It is not the first online Battle Royale game. Even before that, Clash of Clans was a trending game. PUBG made it’s the way in the world’s “most played mobile games” because of its base concept. The plot is that 100 players fight in an arena and 1 wins, but this idea was abandoned or ignored by big gaming companies such as EA, Ubisoft, and others. Also, starting off the worldwide PMCO competitions gained the attention of players from across the world,” Mayuresh, a final year student, told how he got hooked to the game after its inception.

Elaborating why the game was so addictive, Mayuresh said, “The real-world scenarios, guns, sound effects, and overall experience is the reason for PUBG being the most popular mobile game ever.”

Voicing similar views on why PUBG was such a massive hit among the youth, Vaibhav, a 24-year-old professional says: “I was A PUBG enthusiast back when PUBG had just entered the Indian market and was trending. The app was way more evolved than other apps. You were able to have conversations with your teammates live while playing the game. Something like that on Mobile Phone was new and it felt nice.”

Another medical student (who wished to remain anonymous) from Mumbai, also had an identical reason for why PUBG was popular. She says, “Pubg was hit because of the gameplay.. not everyone could master playing pubg.. the game required game sense, tactics and mind used to be busy. Also, voice chat used to be very helpful as we could talk with friends not only about the game but about anything, just like we talk while playing ludo. Is ludo also banned?”

PUBG Ban: Genuine Threat Or Mere Distraction?

Lalit, an IT professional, when asked about the ban on the popular app, said it was just to distract the common people from important issues prevailing in the country.

Lalit, who’s also a regular PUBG player, said, “They knew that people would raise questions after the GDP numbers came out. The moment people started asking about the economic crisis, the news about this ban came. Why should the government control what we do in our private lives? Don’t we have the freedom to play the games we want? They are misusing the power.”

“If it is such a threat to the security, they should give an explanation on what exactly they mean by that,” Lalit reacted.

Prasad, another final year student, couldn’t fathom what the government would gain by banning PUBG.

“What’s the use? They should let us know what’s going to be achieved by banning the app. The only thing that’s been achieved so far is that parents are happy. They are happy because their kids are not playing the game anymore,” Prasad said.

Rahul, who’s been looking for a job after graduation, said students will now question the government about the lack of jobs.

Making a sarcastic comment, Rahul says, “I’d spend 3 hours playing this game on a daily basis. What should I do now? Modi ji jawab do yaa fir job do (Modi ji give an answer or give a job).”

Responding on what could be the reasons for the government to block the app, Rahul says, “This is all happening to suppress the news about our tanked GDP. They want to divert the attention of educated people.”

Vaibhav, citing his views on the ban, said: “I think the decision is bizarre. The app sure had some bad consequences, but people who were in isolation during this lockdown had a reason to distract their minds from negative thoughts. They could talk to their friends and feel normal about life while playing the game. The government banning PUBG is just another distraction so that people don’t question the government on actual issues. I feel it should not have been banned.”

Mayuresh, however, had a different perspective to reflect on the ban.

The Silver Lining

“The addiction of PUBG has been an issue for the last few years for the youth of India, but this is just a temporary solution. If not PUBG, many other games are still addictive. We as a youth of this nation should be more mature and instead of playing PUBG, should focus on real-world problems of our nation such as unemployment and a falling economy. I completely support our government on banning this game, if it was at-all violating GDPR or compromising the security of our nation,” Mayuresh added.

On the issue of players getting addicted to the game, Vaibhav and Prasad agreed with Mayuresh.

“Nightmare started after 3-4 months into the game. I was waking up at night yelling PUBG slangs and my brother used to get scared because of my late night yelling. At that time, I realized I’m addicted to it and decided to quit,” Vaibhav said.

“I got addicted! I would stop playing the game in one season. Then I would start playing again at another season. One month back, I stopped playing completely. So the announcement doesn’t make much difference to me,” Prasad added.

Psychology Behind Gaming

Kasturi, a psychology graduate, who would play PUBG in its early days, said: “There is a theory in Psychology which explains the gaming world of every individual- that human behaviour is driven by the need for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. If those needs are met, we enjoy activities more, even in gaming.”



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