NAT_190425_Fortnite-1556194443179
Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: Two members of the Federal National Council demanded that battle videogames such as Fortnite and PUBG be banned in the UAE, citing their “negative addictive” influence especially on the young in the country.

Naama Al Sharhan, a member of the house from Ras Al Khaimah, told Gulf News battle games, especially Fortnite and PUBG — in which players are positioned behind a gun — have turned a generation of kids into digital warriors who fight alien invaders and terrorists.

“These games are addictive and have a very bad psychological effect on kids and adults alike. Many play first-person shooters for innocent enjoyment, which may turn them into cold-blooded murderers, not just in the virtual world but also in the real world. it simply feels good to eliminate an enemy — especially someone who’s trying to harm them,” Al Sharhan said.

Addiction is defined as being obsessed with and having great difficulty ceasing the use of a harmful substance or involvement in a nonproductive or pathological activity.

Game addiction has been an increased focus of scientists lately and an intense topic of debate. The World Health Organisation has classified “gaming disorder” as an “addictive behaviour,” but some mental health professionals said that is neither necessary nor accurate.

Al Sharhan, who will put a question on Tuesday to Abdul Rahman Mohammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention and Minister of FNC Affairs, on action against video game addiction, said the calls to ban these violent games came due to parents’ concerns over the negative effects caused by some electronic games on the health, culture, and security of Emirati society, including societal and moral threats to children and youth.

PUBG or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, made by South Korean firm Bluehole Inc, is a survival-themed battle game that drops dozens of online players on an island where they try and eliminate each other.

North Carolina-based Epic Games’ Fortnite, with a similar premise, is seen as an industry game-changer by analysts as it signed up tens of millions of users for its last-player-standing “Battle Royale” format.

Both were launched in 2017 and have a huge global following.

Fortnite generated more than $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) in revenue last year, largely through the purchase of in-game content like season passes and dance emotes. The game has 200 million registered users.

Shaikh Bin Abdullah Bin Sultan Al Nuaimi, a member from Ajman, shared the same sentiments and will put another question calling to pull the plug on video games.

Iraq’s parliament has recently voted to ban Fortnite and PUBG.

Prince Harry, speaking recently at a YMCA in West London, addressed the controversial topic of video game addiction, came down hard on Fortnite.

“The game shouldn’t be allowed,” he said. “It’s created to addict. An addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible. It’s so irresponsible.”