Beware of BGMI: Return triggers fears of addiction, mental health issues

The well-known battle royale game Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), which delighted the nation's gaming community but was previously banned, is now available again.
Beware of BGMI: Return triggers fears of addiction, mental health issues
Beware of BGMI: Return triggers fears of addiction, mental health issues

 Banned for more than a year, the Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), the popular battle royale game that enthralled the country's gaming community, is back, albeit with a government rider where it is monitoring the app for three months before it is given a green signal.

On May 30, South Korean video game developer Krafton said that the video game BGMI is now available for play for all users in India as it is available for download for both Android and iOS users.

Till now, more than 10 crore users have downloaded the BGMI app on Android.

Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, last month clarified that the final decision to allow video game BGMI to return to the country will only be taken after three months of a strict trial of the game.

The minister said that the government will keep a close watch on other issues of "user harm, addiction, etc in next three months before a final decision is taken".

"This is a three-month trial approval of BGMI after it has complied with issues of server locations and data security, etc," he said in a tweet.

Promoting responsible gaming practices, the playtime for users under 18 will be three hours whereas for the rest of the players it will be six hours daily. Also, parental verification and daily spending limit for minors continue to be a part of the game, according to the company.

In September 2020, the Indian government, citing concerns over national security and data privacy, banned a total of 118 Chinese mobile applications, including PUBG Mobile -- the predecessor of BGMI, after concerns were raised about the apps posing a potential national security threat.

Players were forced to look for alternatives after PUBG Mobile was banned. South Korean video game company Krafton later revealed its intentions to release a rebranded version of the title tailored for the Indian gamers.

A rebranded BGMI was first released by Krafton in July 2021. The game was made with modifications that comply with local laws and take into account the Indian government's concerns while still maintaining the spirit of PUBG Mobile.

Upon the relaunch of BGMI, esports organisations quickly resumed their operations, setting up competitions and hiring professional teams.

The revival of BGMI also paved the path for increasing collaboration between brands looking to enter India's expanding gaming sector.

However, several people, especially parents, view BGMI's return as a bad omen because of its potential impact on addiction and mental health.

PUBG Mobile, before its ban, received widespread criticism for its addictive nature and its negative influence on young players.

The reintroduction of a game that shares significant similarities with its predecessor has once again reignited the debate on the harmful effects of excessive gaming.

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