The tech giant Tencent has abandoned the popular mobile version of PlayerUnknown & # 39; s Battlegrounds in China after failing to obtain a government license to collect the game's revenue.
Instead, the company is migrating users to a similar title, Heping Jingying or Elite Force for Peace, reports Reuters and the Financial Times . Heping Jingying has already been approved for monetization by the Chinese Communist Party, largely thanks to its patriotic connotations. One analyst described the game as "a tribute to the Air Force of the People's Liberation Army", part of China's national army, with anti-terrorist issues.
PUBG Mobile was launched in March last year and has become one of the most popular video games in the world, with as many players as Fortnite . According to China Renaissance estimates, the game had approximately 70 million national players, which would have allowed Tencent to generate annual revenue from purchases in the app of approximately $ 1.18 billion to $ 1.48 billion.
However, a series of political and cultural factors seem to have condemned the title. In recent years, the Chinese government has become particularly hostile to video games perceived as violent or addictive, with the state newspaper People & # 39; s Daily describing Tencent's mobile success Honor of Kings as "poison" that propagates "negative energy".
Tencent has already closed a game due to this hostility and is making accommodations in new titles. Heping Jingying is not only patriotic, it is less violent than PUBG. The characters do not bleed when they are shot and only those over 16 can play.
Geopolitics could also have contributed to the rejection of PUBG Mobile . Tencent licenses the game to the South Korean company Bluehole, and the Chinese authorities may be hostile to South Korean products. In 2017, Beijing launched a boycott of South Korea's products and services after the country accepted the installation of the US anti-missile defense system THAAD on its border with North Korea.
However, for Chinese players, the interruption should be minimal. Tencent is allowing users to move characters from PUBG Mobile to Heping Jingying and one analyst told Reuters that the new game was incredibly similar to the previous title.
"The gameplay, the background, the graphic design and the characters are almost the same," said IHS Markit game analyst Cui Chenyu.