Chinese web giant Tencent ditched a plan for a domestic launch of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), one of its most popular global titles, apparently because of a regulatory crackdown, Financial Times (FT) reported.
A message posted on the game’s official social media account stated the game had been removed for maintenance, and directed users to instead download a new multiplayer battle title called Heping Jingying, or Elite Force for Peace.
Sensor Tower reported PUBG was downloaded 11 million times worldwide in March 2019 and generated $23 million in revenue. However, none of this money came from China, which in addition to being Tencent’s home market is the biggest gaming market in the world.
This is because regulation in country has meant Tencent cannot sell subscriptions or in-app purchases for PUBG and other titles.
This is part of the country’s strategy to control the number of new online games published following concerns about an increase in eye problems among the country’s young people.
Tencent did get approval for a few games in January, but it seems PUBG was not one of them.
While Elite Force for Peace received approval for in-app purchases, those aged under 16-years cannot register to play. The game is described as having a patriotic theme: FT cited Jefferies analyst Karen Chan as stating the game is “a tribute to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force”.
FT noted Tencent licences PUBG from a South Korean company called Bluehole and suggested the issues it is facing in China may be linked to a 2017 row between the countries regarding a South Korean missle defence system and subsequent Chinese boycott of goods from the country.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back