Tencent has reportedly pulled the plug on popular video game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in China and shifted users to a more government-friendly game. Tencent decided to shut down the mobile version of the battle royale game, commonly known as PUBG Mobile, because the Chinese government refused to allow in-app purchases, Reuters reported on Wednesday. Around 70 million people reportedly played PUBG Mobile in China every day.
Or, rather, the massive Chinese publisher simply replaced PUBG with a copycat developed in-house called Game for Peace. According to this Reuters report, the game is virtually identical to PUBG, but with a few key differences. Users on Tencent's giant gaming platform Weibo noticed that PUBG was gone, but when they logged into Game of Peace they discovered that all their content was still intact. The game was now more patriotic and all blood and gore had been removed, but it was still basically the same thing.
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.
The crackdown shaved around US$250 billion off the company's stock market value by late last year, though shares have largely recovered as some game approvals subsequently resumed.The China gaming industry had been watching to see whether Tencent would gain approval to permanently offer 'PUBG Mobile' due to its potential to generate big profits for the company.But Tencent's Hong Kong-listed shares rose 1.05 per cent on Wednesday, with analysts saying Game of Peace will give the company something to monetise in place of PUBG Mobile.
In any case, a game with no revenue stream is a dead one, and Tencent has clearly decided to simply pull the plug. The replacement, Heping Jingyping (Game for Peace), has already been approved by the Chinese government for monetisation. Tencent is apparently allowing players to transfer their characters to the new title, making the migration a little easier.