Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s popular "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" game has been banned in multiple cities in India for being violent, with the country's national child rights commission recommending barring it altogether, Bloomberg News reported.
Unhappy parents, politicians and teachers have reportedly objected to the game, where 100 players engage in a fight armed with assault rifles until a lone player is left standing, stating it stimulates violent behavior, bullying and stealing. Local news reports have also declared PUBG an "epidemic" that is turning children into "psychopaths".
Western India has seen 10 university students arrested so far for playing the game, according to the report.
South Korea's Bluehole Inc., which made the original PUBG for computers, and later collaborated with China's Tencent on a mobile version of the game, said it is looking at all the legal aspects associated with the ban in India. Bluehole said it is working on introducing "a healthy gameplay system in India" to encourage responsible gaming and limit play time for underaged players.
Tencent's online game revenue has seen growth drop to 6% in 2018, compared to 38% in 2017. Concerns about online addiction and health issues among children were primary reasons behind China's intensified regulation of the gaming industry in 2018. After a nine-month suspension of game approvals, the Chinese government resumed the process, but is now facing a backlog . The approval freeze had an impact on the company's revenues, James Mitchell, chief strategy officer at Tencent, said during an earnings conference call.