After waiting more than a year for the Chinese government to approve PUBG Mobile’s in-game purchases, Tencent has pulled its battle royale from sale, instead pushing players towards a strikingly similar title, dubbed Game for Peace.
In a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo (translated via Reuters), Tencent announced that it would end PUBG Mobile’s “testing phase,” meaning it’s no longer available for download. Instead, players now have the option to transfer their accounts to the new title, which Tencent says “pays tribute to the blue sky warriors that guard our country’s airspace.” Game for Peace was approved for in-app purchases in April, and appears to include players’ recent PUBG match history.
By all accounts, Game for Peace is pretty similar to PUBG, but has been developed with China’s strict videogame approval process in mind. One Weibo user says that the game is now “very socialist,” while another says that violence has been scaled down significantly – injured players don’t bleed, and dead players reportedly “get up and wave goodbye.”
The PC version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is still technically available in China. Despite not having been approved by the government, players are still able to access the game via Steam’s ‘grey market’.
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PUBG Mobile’s popularity across Asia is causing problems, as the more portable version of the battle royale has been banned in both India and Nepal (where it was swiftly unbanned). Despite it lack of popularity with certain governments, however, it’s still pulling in plenty of money – PUBG made nearly a billion dollars in 2018, and that figure doesn’t even account for much of the mobile version’s booming popularity.