Survival shooter Escape from Tarkov isn’t available in China, but it’s popular anyway
Some Western gamers accuse Chinese players of cheating and want a region lock… but the game already has one
Now that surging popularity in China is starting to get on the nerves of gamers outside the country. People on Reddit called for a region lock to keep Chinese gamers from logging on to the game because they think Chinese gamers use software to help them cheat.
Escape from Tarkov has some similarities with PUBG, but they’re different in many ways. Both are realistic shooters in which players are trapped in a location and have to survive by looting and scavenging weapons, but Escape from Tarkov isn’t a battle royale in which the last man or team standing wins. Escape from Tarkov allows multiple survivors as long as they manage to find the right extraction points located inside the fictional city of Tarkov.
The game isn’t officially available in China, where the government enforces strict game licensing requirements. That means there is at least one piece of unusual software that Chinese players are probably using: a game accelerator. These are effectively VPNs built specifically for gaming, so they allow Chinese gamers to bypass the country’s Great Firewall and log on to game servers in other countries.
Using game accelerators has become common practice in China, with major tech companies like NetEase developing their own. This is what allows Chinese gamers to access Escape from Tarkov in the first place.
A key difference between other battle royale games and Escape from Tarkov is that players get to keep all the gear they find if they survive a game. That gear can then be sold on the game’s Flea Market. So players are also competing to amass the most wealth.
However popular the game is in China, though, there are still barriers for many players. Without a game accelerator, gamers can’t even download Escape from Tarkov from the official website in China. And at a starting price of US$45, it might be considered expensive for the average Chinese consumer.
But once players are actually in the game and playing it, it seems to have a lasting impact.
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