After receiving several complaints especially from parents in the beginning of the year, Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA) carried out study in January 2019 and it was learnt that there is a need to discourage people from playing PUBG, or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, a battle royale shooter that pits 100 players against each other in a struggle for survival as this game was found to be addictive in nature causing people to neglect their studies and duties.
BICMA issued a notification to internet operators like Bhutan Telecom, Tashi Cell and NANO to make this game inaccessible within the country on 1st October 2009.
The notification says, an increasing number of youths is indulged playing online game called PUBG Mobile which can be easily downloaded from play store or apple store. It says since the game has huge negative impact on the lives of young people, the authority directs all the internet service providers to block these applications and make it inaccessible within the country with immediate effect.
PUBG Mobile is enjoying an immense amount of success across the globe. However, the popular battle game was slapped with a ban in several countries due to addiction issues. While some restricted the ban to few places, others imposed nationwide PUBG Mobile ban to stop people from participating in the seemingly violent matches.
The main reason cited for the ban is the extreme addiction that causes young students to neglect their studies and other activities. Some cited that the use of weapons and strategies to take down enemies in the game is having bad psychological effects on the players. So far, India, China, Nepal and Iraq banned PUBG Mobile.
Director of BICMA Jigme Wangdi said that the authority received several complaints from people which is why BICMA is trying to discourage the use of the game. The complaints were mostly from parents as it was having negative impacts on their children.
He said, “It is not legal banning but we are just discouraging people to use it. Legal banning has to be done by the government and we are also not sure whether we can do that or not.”
He said, “As a licenser we can direct the licensee like Bhutan Telecom, Tashi Cell and other internet operator what is good and bad. After receiving complaints from parents, BICMA carried out a study where we tried to study about the game and who are using the applications.”
The Director said “From the study, we found out that we have to discourage the use of the application and also educate the people about it. We also looked at what is happening in the regional countries and how it is affecting the people.”
He said, “We have been studying about this since January after we received complaints from the parents in the beginning of the year.”
“We will have to talk with internet operators to make the game inaccessible and see if we can actually do it. But I feel that we can do it to a certain extent but we may not be able to do it completely because this might have huge financial implication as it might cost so much,” he added.
The CEO of Bhutan Telecom Karam Jurme said, “We are studying how we can implement the directives but we don’t know whether we can implement it or not.”
He said, “The directives has come from our regulatory authority and the directive says that we have to make it inaccessible and now we have to see how we can make it inaccessible. When we received the letter I have asked our people how we can implement the directive and how it is feasible technically. Bhutan Telecom will surely work on it.”
In neighboring India a boy beheaded his father this year who tried to prevent him from playing PUBG. In yet another incident a class 10 boy killed himself after his parents took away his phone to prevent him from playing PUBG.
The WHO has recently listed gaming addiction as a diseases or psychological disorder given the rise of gaming addiction.
Countries like South Korea now having gaming de-addiction centers for youths addicted to online games like PUBG.