Bangladesh orders ban on PUBG Mobile; esports ecosystem in peril after suspension of PMPL slots


The market for mobile battle royale titles has exploded in the past few years thanks to games like PUBG Mobile and Free Fire. Their download numbers, revenue, and daily active users have generally been at the top of the charts.

However, there is a negative consequence to all of this. The majority of people spending time playing these games are youngsters. Long hours of gaming are detrimental to their productivity, and sometimes make them addicted to the game.

As a result, multiple countries have banned these games to combat addiction issues.

PUBG Mobile and Free Fire banned in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has become the latest country to ban battle royale games. The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has ordered the removal of titles such as PUBG Mobile and Free Fire from the country’s online platforms.

BTRC Vice-Chairman Subrata Roy Maitra also said they are removing many other apps, including TikTok, Bigo Live, and Likee.

He said:

“Even if you shut down the apps, they can be accessed through VPNs (virtual private networks). We do not have the capability to shut those down. We will also write to the authorities in charge of these apps to request their removal.”

Earlier, the Bangladesh High Court had ordered the authorities to ban dangerous mobile games like Free Fire and PUBG Mobile for three months.

Recently, the Ministry of Education and Home Affairs recommended that these games be banned from the country due to addiction among the younger generation.

Several weeks ago, a Nepali lawmaker called for the government to ban online games because of their negative effects. PUBG Mobile was also banned in India and Pakistan last year.

Pakistan removed the ban shortly afterward, but in India, the game returned as Battlegrounds Mobile India.

PUBG Mobile esports takes a hit

The suspension is guaranteed to negatively affect the esports ecosystem in Bangladesh. The finals of the PMCO Fall Split 2021, carrying a prize pool of 29,200 USD, was suspended instantly.

The finals were scheduled for yesterday, i.e., 26 August. According to various sources, the two slots (one from PMCO Fall and another one from PMNC) from the Bangladesh region for the Pro League South Asia Season 4 will also be canceled.

However, no official announcement regarding this has been made.

In other parts of the world like China, the Chinese conglomerate, Tencent, has set up a facial recognition system that logs out minors and teenagers who stay in-game past midnight.

The initiative, called Midnight Patrol, aims to foil tricks devised by kids posing as adults between 10 PM and 8 AM.

Governments around the world have imposed numerous on games to prevent addiction, but users have found ways around them. Gaming has become increasingly polarizing, and various measures are being instituted to prevent it from becoming an addiction.

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