Video games have always had a negative outlook among people. It has been frequently related to bad lifestyle, and gamers have been stereotyped as obese young adults who stuff themselves full of crisps and guzzle aerated drinks all day. This image has been somewhat debunked in the recent times with the advent of major eSports events which have been broadcast all over the internet as well as TV channels like ESPN.
With the growing popularity of online multiplayer games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, and tournaments being held all over the world all year long, gamers have somewhat redeemed their image where they are no longer looked at poorly. Gamers are people who are not just concerned about games but about their physicality as well. All major eSports teams provide physical exercise as a part of the schedule for their players.
But even when gamers seems to have done away with a stigma that hovered around them, more reasons of concern have come up. Games are played for fun or seriously where the player wants to compete with others in a professional platform. And while becoming a pro requires rigorous and extensive practice of sessions lasting up to 10 hours and more, it has a serious impact on the social and family lives of players. After long hours of involvement, players find it difficult to concentrate on relationships.
One of the biggest example that made headlines recently was when a professional Call of Duty player, Douglas “Censor” Martin dumped his supermodel girlfriend to concentrate on winning a Call of Duty tournament. And this is not just an isolated incident; such incidents have happened before as well. And this is because gaming needs a lot of involvement and practice, which arises out of the fact that the sheer number of players who are competing and have the opportunity to topple you is huge. This intense competitive environment keeps top gamers on their toes all the time, looking over their shoulders for the next person trying to take their spot.
But the problems is not just isolated to the professional gaming sphere. As I mentioned before, the extremely open nature of the professional gaming world that accepts anyone as a pro player as long as they have the skills to back is up is huge. This creates hopes among even beginner gamers to give an all-out effort towards it. And even if someone is not aiming to be a professional, the very nature of the competitive multiplayer games is to provide an adrenaline rush in a fun-filled environment, and a very temporary sense of achievement when winning. This drives people to expend more and more time in gaming.
A recent report from a UK-based website that offers services to couples going through a divorce, Divorce Online, says that gaming has become one of the causes leading to divorce in the UK. And one of the games that was mentioned in the list was Fortnite, which is among the most popular games in the world right now.
Fortnite enjoys massive popularity on all the platforms that it is present on and the whole world seems crazy about it. But the new light shed on the effects it is having on relationships may be a damper. The World Health Organisation in its recent report has even characterized gaming addiction as a potentially harmful technology-related behavior.
And while Fortnite is the most popular online game out there right now, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or PUBG in short, is also one of those games that enjoyed that status until Fortnite dethroned it. But it still remains the most popular after Fortnite and it is just as involving a game as Fortnite. Its popularity is particularly high on Android smartphones, given that Fortnite’s availability on the platform is limited.
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While PUBG has a massive following on PC and Xbox (it is not available on PlayStation yet), it captured the mobile market soon after its launch recently and is reigning supreme right now. And from the looks of things, it won’t be long now before we will see PUBG Mobile being included in potentially harmful lists. This is because a smartphone is a much more commonly available device than PCs or consoles and is extremely portable giving access to it everywhere. This could mean that an addiction to PUBG Mobile could potentially ruin not just relationships, but affect the work done at workplaces as well.
These research topics and findings in no way indicate that everyone who plays games does, or is affected by these things. Yet it does show the potential that it has to create situations that throw life elements into jeopardy.