PUBG: Origins, Popularity and Controversies of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, commonly known as PUBG, is a game that has attracted both fanfare and controversy in equal measure.

PUBG Mobile file photo, Image credit: Twitter

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is an online multiplayer battle royale game that was originally developed and published by PUBG Corporation. The company is a subsidiary of the South Korean video game company Bluehole. The game can see up to one hundred players parachuted onto an island and search for weapons to kill others while battling for their own survival. The available safe area in the game’s map gets smaller and smaller as the game rolls on, bringing surviving players into tighter areas and in close proximity with each other to maximise encounters. The last player or team standing is declared the winner.


PUBG was initially released for Microsoft Windows in March 2017, with a full release then taking place later that year in December.

The game was later released by Microsoft Studios for the Xbox One via its Xbox Game Preview program that same month, and officially released in September 2018.

What catapulted the game’s popularity was the introduction of PUBG Mobile, a free-to-play mobile game version for Android and iOS that was released in 2018.

Such is the popularity of the game now that PUBG tournaments are organised on the regular, meaning the game has become a part of the eSports lexicon.


Statistically speaking PUBG is one of the best-selling, highest-grossing and most-played video games of all time.

The PC and gaming consoles versions of the game has sold over 70 million copies and game consoles as of 2020.

To make things better, PUBG Mobile has also accumulated over 734 million downloads and has also grossed over $4.3 billion on mobile devices as of December 2020.

PUBG is also a smash hit with the critics and has received consistently positive reviews from critics, who have stated that while the game has some technical flaws it has shown new types of gameplay that are playable for gamers of absolutely any skill level and was also highly replayable.

The game has also seen the battle royale genre of gaming become more popular among players, with a number of unofficial Chinese clones also being produced following its success.

The game also received several Game of the Year nominations, among other accolades. However, it has also ruffled a few feathers.


The game has also been banned in some countries for allegedly being harmful and addictive to younger players.

One of the first notable bans came in the Indian state of Gujarat, with the local government citing the game’s addictive and violent nature a distraction for students during exam preparations.

As a result, other countries followed suit – Nepal, Iraq, Jordan and the Indonesian province of Aceh also banned the game although it was lifted in Nepal.

Pakistan also banned the app for a short while but it was India’s ban that made news the most. Amid border tensions with China, India banned a number of apps that had Chinese connections – the biggest casualty being PUBG, since the game had over 175 million downloads in the country.

The game has been rumoured to make a comeback to the Indian markets many times since but as of now, the ban remains enforced.

Sportslumo Desk

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