PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds: Tencent to launch the year’s hottest video game in China

China’s censor is closely monitoring the multiplayer, violent video game

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 5:43pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 11:03pm

Tencent Holdings, the world’s largest gaming company, has got its hands on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – the year’s hottest video game that has sold more than 20 million copies since its release eight months ago.

Tencent said on Wednesday that it had won exclusive rights to the multiplayer online battle video game in China from PUBG Corp, a subsidiary of South Korean publisher Bluehole.

The announcement comes weeks after the China’s media censor, State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film & Television, voiced concerns that the game harms mental health and “deviates from the socialist core values, traditional Chinese culture and moral norms” and cautioned that it might even ban the game.

Tencent said that it would work with PUBG Corp and maintain close communication with the Chinese authorities and follow their guidance to make changes to the game content that does not meet requirements.

“We will further highlight the teamwork and fair play spirit, making sure it’s in accordance with socialist core values and traditional Chinese cultures and moral norms,” the Chinese internet giant said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company said it would try to deliver to users “educational and guiding” game content, in particular to juveniles, adding it would announce further details soon.

PUBG is a multiplayer game in which up to 100 online players parachute on to an abandoned island and fight against each other until only one remains alive.

Enough blood and gore: China wants to ban hit game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds for not conforming to socialist values

The game recently smashed Dota 2’s record for the most concurrent players on Steam, a top gaming platform.

We will further highlight the teamwork and fair play spirit, making sure it’s in accordance with socialist core values

Players from China account for more than 40 per cent of PUBG’s player base, dwarfing the numbers in other regions such as the US and South Korea, according to recent figures from Steam Spy, which tracks game data on Steam.

Tencent, which derives more than 40 per cent of its revenues from online games, posted a 48 per cent increase in its gaming revenue for the third quarter, thanks to flagship titles such as Honour of Kings.

Tencent’s stock as a result has soared more than 120 per cent this year, with its market value standing at HK$4.06 trillion (US$520 billion) on Wednesday afternoon. It is the first Chinese tech company to crack the US$500 billion barrier, joining an elite club that includes US tech giants such as Apple, Alphabet, and Amazon.

China, the world’s biggest games market in terms of value, will grow to US$29 billion this year from US$25.6 billion in 2016, according to IHS Markit.