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Nepal bans online game PUBG on concerns over children

Mariyam Malsa
13 April 2019, MVT 21:37
Screengrab from a PUBG match. PHOTO: PC GAMER
Mariyam Malsa
13 April 2019, MVT 21:37

Nepal has banned the hugely popular but brutal online game "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" over concerns about its impact on children, officials said Friday.

In the multiplayer game, commonly known as PUBG, players parachute onto an island and scavenge for weapons and equipment to kill others and survive. The last player or team standing wins.

Nepal's telecommunication authority issued a circular to all internet service providers on Thursday to block PUBG on instruction from the Kathmandu district court.

"We sought an order from the court to ban PUBG after floods of complaints from parents, guardians and school organisations to block the game citing psychological impact on teenagers and students," senior police official Dhiraj Pratap Singh told AFP.

The survival-themed battle game, made by South Korean firm Bluehole Inc, has been downloaded more than 100 million times around the world since it was launched in 2017.

Parents and educators say the game incites violence and distracts students from their studies.

Saugat Joshi, 28, an occasional player said parents should instead speak to their children about better gaming habits.

"Banning is not a solution. Right now PUBG is viral but next year there might 10 others, we can't ban everything," Joshi said.

Last year, China announced new controls on the number of games that can be played online, limited new releases, and imposed rules on underage players to reduce their screen time.

PUBG is also banned in the Indian state of Gujarat, where dozens of people have been arrested for playing.

A minister in the coastal Indian state of Goa has described PUBG as "a demon in every house".

Kathmandu, Nepal | AFP

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