Tech giant Tencent has dropped the very popular mobile version of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in China after not securing a government license to collect revenue from the game.
Instead, the company transfers users to a similar title, Heping Jingying or Elite Force for Peace, reports Reuters and Financial Times . Heping Jingying has already been approved for the income generation of the Chinese Communist Party, thanks to a small portion for their patriotic overtones. An analyst described the game as "a tribute to People's Liberation Army Air Force" ̵
PUBG Mobile launched in March last year and has become one of the world's most popular video games, with as many players as Fortnite . According to estimates from the China Renaissance, around 70 million domestic players had played, which would have allowed Tencent to generate annual revenue from app purchases of around $ 1.18 billion to $ 1.48 billion.
However, a number of political and cultural factors seem to have judged the title. Over the past few years, the Chinese government has become particularly hostile to video games that are perceived as violent or addictive, with the state magazine People's Daily paper describing Tencents mobile smash hit Kings of Honor as "poison" that spreads "negative energy."
Tencent has already closed a game because of this hostility, and makes accommodation in new titles. Not only is Heping Jingying patriotic, but it's less violent than PUBG. Signs do not bleed when they are shot, and only those who are 16 and older can play.
Geopolitics may also have contributed to PUBG Mobile 's rejection. Tencent licenses the game from South Korean company Bluehole, and Chinese authorities may be hostile to South Korean goods. In 2017, Beijing launched a boycott of South Korea's products and services after the country agreed to install the US missile defense THAAD along its border with North Korea.
However, for Chinese players, the disturbance should be minimal. Tencent allows users to port over characters from PUBG Mobile to Heping Jingying and an analyst told Reuters that the new game was incredibly similar to the older title.
"The game, the background, the graphic design and the characters, they are almost the same," said IHS Markit game analyst Cui Chenyu.