Tencent pulls blockbuster game PUBG in China, launches patriotic alternative

Playerunknown's Battlegrounds has pulled in $320 million for Tencent outside China

Chinese internet giant Tencent has scrapped the launch of a hit video game in China, after failing to get regulatory approval.

The South Korean-made PUBG was named by global game distributor Steam as one of its highest-grossing titles of 2018, pulling in more than 65 million US dollars in March outside China according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.

The crackdown shaved around $250 billion off the company's stock market value by late previous year, though shares have largely recovered as some game approvals subsequently resumed. As you'd expect, Game for Peace quickly gained approval for monetization in China.

Tencent is reportedly replacing PUBG.

"The testing phase for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds officially ends on May 8".

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IHS Markit games analyst Cui Chenyu said user reviews indicated that Game for Peace was very similar to PUBG, a PC game from South Korea's Krafton, previously known as Bluehole.

In a website statement, Tencent described Game for Peace as a tactical shooting game developed in-house which "pays tribute to the blue sky warriors that guard our country's airspace", in reference to the Chinese air force.

Game approvals in China suffered a nine-month hiatus previous year after an administrative reshuffle in March created a major backlog plus a breakdown in command.

"Game for Peace" is the first game to feature Tencent's most recent update to its anti-addiction system, which only allows users 16 and older to play and limits play time for those under 18 to two hours.

PubG is already a popular game around the world. "The gameplay, the background, the graphic design, and the characters, they're nearly the same", she said. On Wednesday, "PUBG is gone" was the one of most viewed topics on Weibo, with over 300 million clicks and close to 90,000 posts. In its place, however, Tencent has released a new game and this one has a much loftier title: Game for Peace.

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