Steven R. May 8, 2019
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile is dead in China, but fans of the game have a replacement lined up.
Chinese investment conglomerate Tencent Holdings Limited has shut down PUBG Mobile in the country. Instead, the company that handles the brand's operations in China has rolled out a new battle royale titled Game for Peace that will replace it moving forward.
For the most part, Game for Peace is identical to PUBG Mobile. The gameplay, weapons, levels, and matchmaking all remain intact. The key change is fresh coat of paint that makes it more friendly to the Chinese government.
According to Reuters, Game for Peace is being packaged as an homage to the Chinese air force and “pays tribute to the blue sky warriors that guard [Chinese] airspace.”
The game also features aesthetic changes to comply with new regulations regarding depictions of violence in video games. Blood has been removed and instead of players being killed, once they run out of health they leave a crate of equipment behind and wave a pleasant goodbye.
Chinese players’ accounts will be automatically transferred from PUBG to Game for Peace, retaining their skins and levels. The game also has age restrictions, and is exclusive to players over the age of 16.
Players outside China will not be affected by the rollout of Game for Peace. The change has not yet arrived to the PC version, but a similar rollout seems likely.
The reason for the move stems from Tencent’s inability to monetize PUBG in China. Though the game has been a massive success across Asia, restrictions on the game from the Chinese government prevented the company from making sufficient money from it. Game for Peace officially stands as a self-developed title and received approval for monetization in April.
This is good news for Tencent as the company can begin capitalizing on its distribution rights. It also dodges the potential ban on PUBG that has come to pass in Nepal and in various cities within India.
That said, there may be more news on this over the horizon.
Though Tencent owns the distribution rights for PUBG in China and owns a portion of PUBG publisher Krafton Game Union, it does not actually own the PUBG brand. Game for Peace is functionally identical to PUBG Mobile, but Tencent is making moves to distance the two, saying that Game for Peace is self-developed and telling Reuters that the two are “very different genres of games.”
A representative for Krafton also told Reuters that the company is looking into PUBG’s status in China, but declined comment on the release of Game for Peace.