Tragic fate of digitization in Pakistan: PUBG ban hurts unemployed youth and future of eSports

The PUBG ban in Pakistan has stirred up a lot of controversy, leaving the egaming audience agitated and hopeless. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) banned the game following three suicides, numerous complaints and termed it ‘addictive and waste of time’. However, egamers believe PTA has largely undermined the pros, a source of income for marginalised community being the major one.

The bright side:

  • Egames can bring income to youth of marginalized communities, who have less sources of income otherwise. For example, a team from Pakistan was set to take part in an international PUBG tournament but will not be able to do so due to the ban in Pakistan.
  • As a professional career, most successful esports players currently earn more than professional golfers, badminton players, cyclists, marathon runners and even UFC stars. Earnings can range from $15000 to $45,000 per tournament. Overall earnings to date of professional gamers through tournaments have ranged from $3.5 millions to $7.0 millions.
    • The highest paid gamer in the world is Johan Sundstein, who is a Danish esports player. Johan is a professional Dota 2 player and well known in the gaming and esports community. At the age of 26, he has won a total of $6.9 million. Johan is also the original founder and captain of OG (prior to their takeover by Red Bull).
    • Another honourable mention here is Pakistani sensation Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan, As the youngest ever gamer to surpass $1 million (£769,000) in earnings, Karachi-born Sumail Hassan is one of the most recognizable figures on the eSports scene. He was even featured in Time magazine’s top 30 influential teenagers of 2016 and was a core member of the Evil Geniuses team that won the International in 2015.
  • Egames can provide a constant source of income in testing times. Most of the gaming events have been cancelled due to the pandemic, mobile gaming, in general, and PUBG, in particular, was booming and emerging as a way for professional gamers to make a living.
  • YouTube has become another essential mode of income for gamers. The rapid growth of game content consumption on YouTube suggests that it has become an important medium to gamers. PewDiePie, the Swedish video-game personality, has 105 million subscribers on his channel. As of 2020, PewDiePie’s net worth is estimated to be $30-$50 million. Chilean YouTube star and comedian German Garmendia is one of the most sought after talents on Youtube. With 39.8 million subscribers, German make at least $100,000 per month. His net worth stands somewhere between $5 to $25.5 million Evan Fong, owner of famous gaming channel VanossGaming,  has a net worth of  $25 million.
  • There is a lot of potential for marketers within the eSports business. Staging experiences might be in particular useful for marketers.
  • Egames also provide a platform for youngsters to socialize and make new connections.
  • A global recognition can bring in revenues for the government. With top publishers such as EA, Bethesda and Activision regularly releasing bestselling products to a demanding market, revenue in the sector is expected to reach $196 billion (£151 billion) by 2022.

Esports and its negative impacts:

  • Too much screen time and exposure to violence has a damaging effect on the mental and physical health of people especially young children.
  • eSports lack core physical activity elements and organisational structures. Prolonged lack of physical activities can lead to health issues, like obesity. Pro gaming also causes a lot of strain on the body. Mainly eyes (focused on monitors, not blinking enough) and wrists (a lot of twichy movements). You can also develop lower back problems from all that sitting
  • Extremes of addiction to online gaming eventually lead to depression and anxiety. Such ailments have triggered suicides in young children.


Banning gaming is simply not the solution. Certain measures if taken by the government to promote eSports can bring in good revenue. A government esports body can supervise and regulate esports by having a universal set of rules and ethics guidelines for tournaments.

At the same time, parents must responsibility limit screen time in children to prevent its negative impact. Unfortunate incidents like suicides should not be viewed as reflection the whole society, as a lot of factors can contribute to such extreme actions.