Nepal | July 11, 2020

PUBG rules as country languishes in ever extending lockdown

Shaurya Kshatri
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KATHMANDU: Esports in Nepal is still in its infancy but given the rise of the gaming community, it’s slowly but surely gaining traction. The Nepal Olympic Association has endorsed eSports as a sporting event with events like ComCon Nepal, Hackathons, ComCOsCOn and Nepal eSports Association (NESA) hosting some of Nepal’s biggest gaming tournaments.

A couple of years ago, the most popular games in Nepal were probably DOTA 2, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and FIFA, and while they continue to remain attractive, the tide has shifted to battle royale gaming spawned by such names like PUBG and Fortnite.

The concept of battle royale games was fairly new to Nepalis in the beginning of 2018, but with PUBG culture sweeping across the globe, the Nepali gaming community took quite a liking to the game so much so that its unprecedented popularity prompted the Nepal government to temporarily ban the game on April 11 citing its addictive nature and negative impacts on youth.

After just a little over a week following the ban, however, the Supreme Court lifted it when a petition from several lawyers argued playing PUBG as a freedom protected by the constitution.

Flash forward to now and the game’s recognition has only reached greater levels with maximum Nepali youth glued to mobile screens during the nationwide lockdown.

“Today if you just search PUBG Mobile on any of the social media platforms, you are going to see a massive community of ardent Nepali PUBG gamers,” explains Suraj Dangol, President at NESA.

From YouTube streamers to groups of gamers, there is so much information that one can digest off the community.

Facebook page like the Nepal Gaming Community posts live video of playing PUBG on a daily basis. Not only this, but the lockdown has also proved to be a parade for the professional gaming community creating gaming content.

Just recently, NESA introduced Discord Server with support towards game categories including PUBG, Clash Royale, Dota 2 and so on. Discord offers free text, and video
chat servers, along with unique features for gamers like Twitch integration. It’s referred to as a must-have for doing business in the gaming industry, and it might give other enterprises a unique edge in customer communications.

As per Dangol, NESA is looking forward to stepping up a bit to unite and promote esports here in Nepal.
“This is our first initiation towards discord community. If in case any flaws or lack of resources may occur, it can be reported as a feedback,” he adds.

The proliferation of PUBG in Nepal has also resulted in some new class of talented gamers representing Nepal on global gaming platforms. Playing PUBG intitially only for fun, Nepali gaming groups like Jyan Maara, Team Xtreme have now forayed into the world of pro league division.

In a recently concluded KinoKart PUBGM League 2020, the Jyan Maara team came in second bagging Rs 75,000 cash prize. One of the Jyan Maraa's Aashik Bega Limbu (in-game name JMxSonim, Assaulter of the team, weapon of choice: M4) says that they were propelled into taking PUBG gaming
professionally as the Nepali gaming scene saw frequent tournaments being organised. Now the Jyan Maraa team is competing in the Pro League South Asia PUBG Mobile until June 14 along with three other Nepali teams Elementrix, Hype, and Team Xtreme.

In the wake of the global pandemic and the border dispute between Nepal and India, PUBG is increasingly attracting more young Nepalis, who are comparing the game with life in their country. A game based on military strategy, some individuals are also inferring of deploying PUBG players out on the borders, albeit all in good humour.

One avid player, Pujan Rai even went as far as to write, “If you keep friends who play pub g in the borders to fight for the nation, perhaps we will have a better chance.”

Such comments are obviously written as mere jokes but memes related to border issues and PUBG is increasingly circulating on social media.

At a time when a virus is making human survival an uphill task in the real world with surmounting border dispute tensions, staying inside and fighting to survive in digital realms of PUBG MOBILE has suddenly been a sane thing to do — a game, which was once banned for its insanely addictive nature.

 


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