• Friday, Jan 28, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

Bangladesh looking to ‘control’ PUBG, Free Fire

  • Published at 10:03 pm May 29th, 2021
Chinese app ban by India PUBG
A man looks at the ‘PUBG Mobile’ game, owned by Chinese internet giant Tencent, in New Delhi on September 2, 2020 AFP

No official data on gamers in Bangladesh

Amid criticism from different quarters, the government is mulling taking control of online games called PUBG Mobile and Free Fire in a bid to safeguard the mental health of young people and keep their academic life safe. 

The Education Ministry, confirming the development, said all the ministries concerned would have to make concerted efforts to implement the plan, reports Bangla Tribune.

However, no documentation has been done on this issue yet. 

The government in October 2019 had imposed a brief ban on PUBG on the back of growing concerns that the game had had negatively impacting the youth.

The move comes at a time when the country’s school and college students are wasting time on such online gaming platforms, leading to different types of psychological issues. Many guardians have alleged that their children are not obeying them very often, due to “getting addicted” to the games.   

As Education Minister Dipu Moni put it: “There’re various games available on the internet and the Education Ministry can’t solely do it (control). We’re already working with the Home Ministry.”

She added that other ministries concerned would work in this regard.

“Keeping safe the physical and mental health, among other issues, of youngsters is an imperative for us,” she said. However, there is little idea as to how many children and youngsters play games online. 

“We don’t have any such analysis or statistics in hand, but there is a lot to do in that area,” the minister stated.

Also Read - PUBG goes through brief ban in Bangladesh 

Bangladesh introduced remote learning massively after the Covid-19 crisis emerged last year. Hence, millions of pupils from the primary, secondary, higher and even tertiary levels are totally dependent on the internet. Taking advantage of the situation, countless numbers of students are reportedly engaging themselves with online games—something netizens have regularly been critical of.  

Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar, when contacted, said he was not aware of the plan against online games. 

“The home and education ministries might have discussed it among themselves. We have not been approached in this regard yet. Again, such a move doesn’t fall under our jurisdiction. We need the government’s order instead,” he said. 

Sources said no paperwork on the matter had come from either the political wing of the Home Ministry or the ICT Division. 

Public Security Division Additional Secretary Md Jahangir Alam said no information had been shared officially as of Wednesday. 

“If any website or app needs to be shut down, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission will do that. We just monitor them (such apps, online platforms or websites) ,” he added. 

First released in early 2017, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is one of the most popular games on Steam and had over 464 thousand concurrent players in March this year. The highest number of concurrent players was recorded in January 2018 at 3.24 million.

Free Fire, the mobile-based battle royale which became the most downloaded mobile game globally in the year 2019, has managed to continue its dominant run, especially in Latin America and Southeast Asia. 

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