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Opinion: Why Maybe We Should Give PUBG A Break

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The latest craze to hit town PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) is what almost everyone in the country is now playing. From water cooler gossip in the office to classroom discussions it is hard not to talk about PUBG when in a gathering.

At the time of writing this piece, PUBG was on number five on the Saudi Google Play charts. It is the only game in the top 10 on the list that is dominated by social media and messaging apps.

Are We Taking Our Love For It Too Far?

YouTube and Twitch are filled with videos of local gamers playing the game. The country is seeing dedicated social media pages for the game, PUBG merchandise is being sold in many places and now special gears like a device called the trigger (which my colleague recommends) is available on e-commerce websites like souq.com that attaches to one’s phone and supposedly helps in improving PUBG gameplay.

Seeing all this it won’t be surprising that we may soon become the market with the highest penetration of PUBG gamers. We already have some of the highest penetration of Snapchat and Instagram in the world, so do we really need to make it to the top of another not so promising chart?

The Problem

PUBG tends to last long as it is slow paced and you can’t pause midway so you’re fully engrossed in it the whole time you play. And, once the round ends you are again taken back to the home screen where you can just click play and get engrossed in a new round of play.

PUBG addiction has actually become a thing and it is affecting many especially children. Parents are complaining that their children are withdrawing themselves socially, their performance is decreasing academically and that their child is preferring a virtual chicken dinner, which the winner gets if he survives till the end of the game to a real life one. Bizarre PUBG addiction stories do surface from time and they are petrifying. Luckily, we haven’t had any such story originating in Saudi yet but yes we do have PUBG addicts.

What’s Next?

PUBG is betting big on the Middle Eastern market and are launching the game in Arabic. It will even be launching Middle East servers that will cater to this region.

See playing it for a little while may not be bad on its own, it is when we spend hours on end that we really start affecting ourselves in God knows how many ways.

Neighboring Dubai held the first ever first eSport event for the game called PUBG Mobile Star Challenge back in November. It even had decent prize money for an eSport event with the winner taking a handsome $400,000.

Given the country’s interest in eSports, a PUBG event can be on the cards here but it is up to us to limit the time we play it and more so to try to get our children to spend as less time on it as possible.

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