Police in India arrested ten college students after they were caught playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on mobile. Gujarat, a western state in the country, banned the game last week over concerns that it’s too addicting and violent. The students were released on bail later today.
The students were apparently “so engrossed” in the game that they didn’t look up and notice police approaching to arrest them, one cop told local media.
PUBG is still legal in the rest of India, but Gujarat singled out the game after parents and educators complained that the game was too violent and distracted students from studying. In February, a local minister in Gujarat described it as “a demon in every house,” according to The Times of India. And even as players continue to enjoy PUBG on mobile in other parts of India, educators elsewhere in the country are still concerned about the game being too addicting.
Last month, PUBG’s parent company Bluehole released a statement to local Indian media to address the concerns, saying, “we also believe that it is extremely important for us to be a responsible member of the gaming ecosystem. To this end, we constantly work and shall continue to work with ... parents, educators, and government bodies, and listen to their feedback on what we can do.” We’ve reached out to PUBG for comment on the arrest today.
Meanwhile, rival battle royale and third-person shooter Fortnite has not faced legal restrictions. There could be a couple reasons as to why: it has more of a fantasy feel than PUBG’s more realistic violence, and downloading the game isn’t terribly straightforward on the predominant OS of choice, Android, as users have to manually download it from Epic Games’ website. Given those reasons, PUBG appears to be the easier target for lawmakers for now.
Correction March 14th, 4:36PM ET: This article has been corrected to reflect that Fortnite is a third-person shooter and not a first-person shooter.