Chinese media regulators announced on Friday that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), the world’s most popular computer game of the moment, will probably not receive a publishing license in China. Soon after, however, China’s smartphone giant Xiaomi held a launch event for a new PUBG-like feature for their mobile game Xiaomi Guns (小米枪战).

The problem with PUBG, according to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT), is that it’s too bloody and too violent (in Chinese). “Similar to ancient Rome’s gladiator battles, it severely deviates from China’s core socialist values, as well as Chinese traditions and morality, thus leaving a negative impact on the mind-body health of teenage consumers,” the body’s statement said. As such Chinese media regulators advise gaming companies to avoid developing games or related products such as live streaming platforms or e-sports which carry that ideology.

Published by South Korea’s Bluehold Inc., PUBG’s concept is similar to the young-adult dystopian fiction The Hunger Games, in which players are stranded on a remote island where they were told to scavenge for weapons and kill other players to win. The game has sold nearly 18 million copies globally since its release in March as of this writing, according to data from SteamStats, the data service for online PC gaming platform Steam.

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Rita Liao

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.