Tencent Gives Up on Publishing PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in China

Daniel Fowler
May 8, 2019

Tencent has made enough changes with Game for Peace to pass muster with China's regulators, allowing the company to charge for in-game items.

The crackdown shaved around $250 billion off the company's stock market value by late past year, though shares have largely recovered as some game approvals subsequently resumed.

Tencent has been rattled by a Chinese government crackdown on gaming launched past year that has choked off game approvals.

Tencent has seemingly given up on launching PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in China.

In a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo (translated via Reuters), Tencent announced that it would end PUBG Mobile's "testing phase", meaning it's no longer available for download.

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PUBG Mobile has been updated in China to reduce violent content in the game. Tencent, which makes two thirds of its revenue from gaming, watched its shares plummet over 30% during the freeze, shedding $180 billion in market value. It's described as a tactical shooting game Tencent developed itself which "pays tribute to the blue sky warriors that guard our country's airspace".

IHS Markit game analyst Cui Chenyu told Reuters that the title is "almost exactly the same" as PUBG, though it's said to lack more gory elements in line with government regulations. "The gameplay, the background, the graphic design, and the characters, they're nearly the same", she said.

In its place, Tencent has apparently launched a patriotic military-themed game called Game for Peace, which looks and plays similar to PUBG.

A spokeswoman for Krafton said the firm was looking into PUBG's status in China and declined to comment further. It was named as one of the highest-grossing titles on the Steam video game store in 2018.

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