A grieving mother in China claims that her 13-year-old son had jumped to his death to imitate characters from a hugely popular online video game.
The teenager reportedly died in an apparent suicide at about 1 a.m. on August 30 after playing “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” (aka PUBG) on his iPad, MailOnline reports.
The mother, identified as Yu Lihua, told reporters that her son plunged to his death from his uncle’s fourth-floor apartment in Haimen to see if he could survive the fall, just like the playable characters in the online multiplayer “battle royale” game.
Identified as junior high student Xi Tianci, the teen was pronounced dead at the scene after his body was discovered only six hours later.
“The video game caused my son’s death. There is no other reason,” Yu was quoted as saying.
“He was probably still thinking about the game after he stopped playing. He probably went to see if a person can survive jumping off a building.”
In the game, PUBG players can “survive” falling off buildings while sustaining some “health damage” depending on the height of the structure. There are also high areas where a fall could also mean immediate virtual death.
“Lost” health is regained by consuming first aid kits and energy drinks. A teammate can also administer “first-aid help” to a “damaged” player.
According to Xu’s uncle, the boy appeared normal when he said goodnight to him the night before he died. He noted that Xu turned off the lights inside his room at around 11 p.m.
Xu’s mom also found no other reason for him to commit suicide and insisted that his death is caused by the game.
Yu, who revealed the family’s plans to sue the company behind PUBG, noted how she was pushed to confiscate her son’s computer and decline his request to buy him any electronic devices to curb his video game addiction.
“My son is a happy person. He’s not stressed in life and has no reason to die,” she noted.
PUBG, which was developed and published by PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of South Korean video game company Bluehole, was released in China early this year by Chinese gaming platform Tencent Games.
With over 400 million players and fifty million games sold on multiple gaming platforms worldwide as of June 2018, PUBG is considered one of the best-selling video games of all time.