Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) might not dominate gaming headlines anymore, owing to the likes of Apex Legends and Fortnite, but it’s still a mega-popular video game. In fact, 16 students have reportedly been arrested in India for playing the game.
According to the Indian Express, 10 university students were arrested for playing PUBG Mobile a week after a ban was instituted in the state of Gujarat. The students were released on bail.
“This game is highly addictive and the accused were so engrossed in playing them that they could not even notice our team approaching them,” a police official was quoted as saying.
Six more students, between the ages of 18 and 22, were reportedly arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning. These students were also released on bail.
The ban was reportedly issued due to concerns about the game’s impact on players’ “behavior, conduct, and language.” PUBG Mobile remains legal in other Indian states, however. Oddly enough, the ban doesn’t affect mega-popular multiplayer title Fortnite, despite the fact that it’s a battle royale shooter as well.
It’s not the first time a video game has come under fire for purportedly corrupting a nation’s youth, and it likely won’t be the last time. But banning a game on these grounds could be problematic — there are thousands of multiplayer mobile shooter titles available on Android (like Unkilled, Critical Ops, and Fortnite and PUBG clone Rules of Survival). It would devolve into a game of whack a mole, as authorities ban one title, only for another to gain popularity.
Furthermore, PUBG Mobile has a 16+ age restriction on the Play Store, and Google offers a Family Link service to help parents monitor and limit what their kids are doing. In other words, Google has provided at least some tools to help control young people’s access to inappropriate content.