Last week, the government of Gujarat, a state with a population of over 60 million, implemented a ban on PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Mobile, the game responsible for the current battle royale boom. As funny as the ban may sound, local officials are taking it as anything but a joke.
Over 10 students were arrested in the city of Ahmedabad for playing the mobile shooter, with a further 16 people arrested in the city of Rajkot in the past week alone, reports the BBC.
"Our team caught these youths red-handed," Police Onspector Rohit Raval said, according to the Indian Express, following the arrests of three students. "They were taken into custody after they were found playing the PUBG game."
As you would expect, many in India are upset by the new restriction.
The game was banned on March 6 by Gujarat's police commissioner, Manoj Agrawal. The game, according to local authorities, is too addictive, especially for students. A minister in Goa, another state in India, called the game "a demon in every house," reports the Hindustan Times. Fortnite, a similar battle royale game that's also available in mobile form and is now more popular around the world, received no such restriction.
"We were... surprised to learn that local communities in a few cities have decided to impose a ban on playing our game," PUBG Mobile said in a statement to local media. "We are working to understand the legal basis of such bans, and hope we can have a constructive dialogue with relevant authorities to explain our objectives and that they withdraw the prohibition."
The statement added that the company is working to introduce a "healthy gameplay system" in India, and ended with reassurance to the game's fans.
"To PUBG Mobile players, we want to assure you that we are on your side and we will try our best to find a reasonable solution."