The world’s current most popular game, PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG), is to be approved for release in China after “strategic cooperation” between Tencent and the game’s Korean developer PUBG Corporation, Tencent Games announced on Sina Weibo. The deal will give Tencent exclusive rights to the game in China.
In late October, China’s media regulators announced that the multiplayer PUBG was unlikely to receive a publishing license in China (in Chinese). The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT), is that the game is too bloody and violent.
According to Tencent’s Weibo announcement, Tencent’s senior vice president Ma Xiaoyi said that Tencent will provide the best localized operational support for the game and will work to improve the player experience, for example by expanding server capacity. Tencent will also cooperate with PUBG Corporation to “work with all live-broadcasting, media and online partners to create a fair, healthy and sustainable ecosystem” for the game.
The statement claimed:
“As an enterprise with a sense of social responsibility, as well as ensuring game play experience, Tencent will at the same time insist on providing gaming content that transmits a sense of educational guidance to users. For players who are minors there will be a particular focus on transmitting healthy cultural concepts and values.”
Tencent made further pledges to socialist values in the statement. SARFT’s late October announcement had been quite clear on such areas: “Similar to ancient Rome’s gladiator battles, [PUBG] 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”.
Even without a publisher, China had been the game’s biggest market making up over 40% of its player base. Players here had complained about server lag impairing gameplay. PUBG takes its inspiration from the cult film Battle Royale and parachutes up to 100 players onto a deserted island where they have to find weapons to fight for survival.
TechNode has reached out to Tencent for comment and will update when we get a response.