The highly popular game has become a sensation for Pakistanis, as e-sports is one of the emerging industries in Pakistan and have taken the nation by storm.
What is PUBG? PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is an online multiplayer battle game where 100 players participate in each round and the last one standing is declared the winner. Krafton, a South Korean company, develops and distributes the games. Due to its global success, PUBG has become free to play since January 2022.
PUBG is providing a platform for catharsis for many young people who seek to escape from unpleasant reality. But, is PUBG really an escape route? Is this craze for the game originating from the sheer thrill of playing the game or are there other hidden motives behind this?
“I play PUBG because I like to compete with others,” said Muhammad Usman, a 16-year-old schoolboy. “I have been playing this game since 2017, and I spend an hour or two daily on it.”
As mentioned earlier, the motivations behind playing PUBG has been questioned at times. Lots of players see this as an opportunity to earn. Raja Haseeb, a PUBG player, known in E-sports world by his gamer ID “Crypto” earned $2.416.67 in a running year. Another gamer “Blade” earned $2,636.67.
“E-sports industry is very good opportunity to earn faster. Players in Pakistan are making lots of money through gaming. I think it is good for economy, too.” Shariq Ali, who currently work as data scientist for AI Systems Pvt. Ltd, shared his opinion. “I try to spend as much free time as possible on PUBG. It is a very good opportunity for me to earn. One boy made three million US dollars just by playing games. Lots of people in Pakistan don’t make that money in their whole life. So, I think it is good.”
An unfortunate event occurred in Lahore where a 14-year-old boy murdered his family members. According to the police the boy, an addict of PUBG, became disgruntled after failing to achieve his targets in the game and killed his family members. Investigation revealed that the boy assumed his family members would come back to life, like the game’s characters.
“In today’s world, I must say yes that the video games are source of catharsis,” remarked Humaira Imran, a teacher at a boys’ school. “Yes, I think there is increased aggression in boys these days. I guess too much use of gadgets, social media and playing games as well are reasons for this aggression.
Approximately more than 40 to 50 percent students are playing PUBG these days.”
The game was shortly banned in 2020 by the Government due to complaints about it having negative impact on the psychological well-being of the children. The ban was soon lifted and the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting at that time, Fawad Chaudhry, in his tweet said, “Ban is an extreme measure must be very careful in future, ministry of science and technology is very clear that Pakistan must work closely with Tech companies to resolve issues and must not use admin’s measures such as ban in such cases.”
Muhammad Taimur a 23-year-old graduate from Karachi Medical and Dental College said, “It’s fun playing PUBG. I learned about it from my friend. I have been playing it for three years now, and I don’t think it causes violence. I think they [Lahore Police] are making this story up. How can a 14-year-old boy not know the difference between game and real life?” He continued, “I don’t make any money playing PUBG, but I would like to.”
“I play PUBG because it’s a fun activity at home that we girls can do easily. I play about two to three hours every day,” says Bushra Shafaq, Muhammad Taimur’s friend. “My goal is pushing ranks with my friends, rp missions and all new spins.”