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Tencent shuts down PUBG Mobile in China

Replaces with new, similar battle royale title Game for Peace that has received government approval
Tencent shuts down PUBG Mobile in China
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Tencent has shut down its PUBG Mobile games in China after it failed to get approval from the government regulator to monetise.

The titles, PUBG Mobile: Exhilarating Battlefield and Army Attack, have technically been in a ‘test’ period while the publisher waited to get the greenlight. They have regularly topped the Chinese App Store download charts and are thought to have around 70 million daily active users on average.

However, last year’s nine-month licensing freeze and the extensive backlog of thousands of approvals has proven a significant barrier for Tencent’s hopes to monetise the titles.

Though unconfirmed, it's possible that approval problems for the PUBG Mobile games could stem from a block of South Korean game releases in China, which is where PUBG Corp is based.

Game for Peace

In a post on Weibo, Tencent revealed it has given up on the titles and his instead now launched a brand new battle royale game that it has gained approval to make money from: Game for Peace.

IHS Markit game analyst Cui Chenyu told Reuters that the title is “almost exactly the same” as PUBG, though it’s said to lack more gory elements in line with government regulations.

“The gameplay, the background, the graphic design and the characters, they’re almost the same,” she said.

Reuters also reports that some Weibo users have claimed to have much of their PUBG history saved in the new title, including the experience level they had reached.

Tencent claims however that “they are very different genres of games”.

Given that Tencent has now dropped the PUBG branding, it’s unclear whether it owes any royalties to developer PUBG Corp for the new IP. 

China isn’t the only country PUBG has faced difficulties in. Nepal attempted to ban the game before the Supreme Court stepped in, while several cities in India also temporarily suspended the title.