New Delhi: Controversy is raging over the multiplayer game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), with calls to ban it in India after the recent death of a 16-year old, local media reported.
The game pits players against each other in a battle royale on an island. Matches host up to 100 players at a time. The games total player count stands at well over 400 million according to developer Blue Hole, making it one of the most popular games in the world.
But its popularity has come at a price, with experts and parents accusing it of being addictive and negatively affecting players. Authorities have blamed it for a number of deaths.
Parents have even reached out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with one tweeting to him, "Respected sir, I request you to ban PUBG in India as we parents are suffering a huge lose .You are the highest authority and you can."
It has already been banned in parts of the Indian state of Gujarat, where gamers have reportedly been arrested.
The bans in the state are being contested in the Gujurat High Court by the Indian Freedom Foundation (IFF).
In a statement, the IFF said, "You shouldn't be worried if you're going to get arrested for playing a video game! We thought it was necessary someone did something about this. We filed a PIL before the Gujarat High Court challenging the PUBG ban and arrests."
According to the IFF, around 21 people have been arrested for playing the game in the state.
They added, "While the PUBG ban may seem absurd and amusing at first glance, it is no laughing matter. Out of the twenty one people arrested, at least thirteen were young college students. For a young student who is worried about his family’s reaction and future career prospects, being arrested by the police can be a deeply traumatic experience.
"To us the PUBG Ban is fuelled by moral panic and the harms from video games require scientific study and then non-legal methods of engagement."