Chinese tech giant Tencent is making bank off multiplayer games all over the world, with stakes in both PUBG and Fortnite, but it's struggled to get approval in its native land. But now it looks like a compromise has been reached, with the approval of the Chinese Communist Party.
The mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is hugely popular, especially in China, but Tencent failed to secure a license from the government to monetize the game, even after tweaking it to be less gory and more in line with government approved cultural values. It didn't help its case that although Tencent holds the license to distribute PUBG in China and made the mobile adaptation, the game was originally developed by Krafton, previously known as Bluehole, in South Korea, i.e., not one of China's favorite countries.
Reuters cites analysts China Renaissance who said that PUBG had roughly 70 million domestic players, which would have allowed Tencent to generate annual revenues from in-app purchases of roughly $1.18 billion to $1.48 billion. No wonder Tencent is desperate to recover this revenue.
Unable to make any profit from PUBG, Tencent has finally caved in and pulled it from China altogether. In its place, Chinese players get a government-approved replacement: 'Heping Jingying (和平精英)' or 'Game for Peace'. Heping Jingying is basically PUBG with a patriotic skin: themed around the efforts of People’s Liberation Army Air Force to combat terrorism.
Chinese gamers consign themselves to bloodless patriotism
PUBG players in China initially panicked when the news broke. "PUBG is gone" was the one of most viewed topics on the Weibo social network, with over 300 million clicks and close to 90,000 posts. But upon starting Heping Jingying, many were relieved to find that earned progress on PUBG transferred over to what was a remarkably similar game.
Tencent's new 'Game for Peace', complete with ad for Chinese airforce:
That doesn't mean that gamers didn't rightfully mock some of the rather silly compromises that had come about to appease government censors. For one thing, the 'Peace' part of the game is taken quite literally. Despite the plethora of guns in the gritty battle royale, there's no blood or gore in the new version at all.
"I’m going to die of laughter," said one Weibo user. “When you shoot people, they don’t bleed, and the dead get up and wave goodbye!"
They changed PUBG Mobile in China to comply with stricter game violence laws. Now when you 'kill' someone they give you a loot box and wave goodbye and honestly it's just so hilariously wholesome pic.twitter.com/Q5xkrtM0MA— Svend Joscelyne (@SvendJoscelyne) May 8, 2019
It really does give the game quite a different atmosphere, don't you think?