PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds might be one of the world’s biggest games, but its parent company, Tencent, has decided to discontinue the game in China. Despite the country being a huge market–70 million Chinese customers played PUBG Mobile every day–Tencent has shut down the game and replaced it with a more patriotic alternative.
Tencent’s reasoning is the Chinese government’s refusal to allow in-app purchases in PUBG Mobile. In response, the replacement, Game for Peace, has been given a socialist makeover to meet the strict government regulations. According to Reuters, Tencent described Game for Peace as a tactical shooting game that “pays tribute to the blue sky warriors that guard our country’s airspace,” in reference to the Chinese air force.
Changes include the absence of gore and blood in Game for Peace, and characters sit up and wave goodbye when they’re killed. However, analyst Cui Chenyu said Game for Peace is otherwise “almost exactly the same” as PUBG. “The gameplay, the background, the graphic design, and the characters, they’re almost the same,” she said. In addition, players have reported their progress has carried over from PUBG to Game for Peace.
Tencent, on the other hand, says the two games belong to “very different genres.” The issue is complicated further because although Tencent owns a stake in PUBG’s publisher, Krafton (formerly known as Bluehole), and holds the exclusive license to publish PUBG in China, it does not own the PUBG brand outright. A spokesperson for Krafton told Reuters the publisher was looking into PUBG’s status in China and declined to comment further.
PUBG Mobile launched in the west in 2018, and it will soon be joined by another huge battle royale game: EA announced just recently that Apex Legends is coming to mobile.