PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is facing an uphill fight in China thanks to a negative recommendation from a leading censorship advisory group. The China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association, working in conjunction with the official Chinese government’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued a statement on Battlegrounds that accuses the game of being too violent and “deviates from the values of socialism” according to a translation from Bloomberg. It is an early sign that the game will not likely get an official license for sale in China.
“This basically spells the death sentence for PUBG in China,” said Benjamin Wu, an analyst at Shanghai-based consultancy Pacific Epoch.
The SAPPRFT previously recommended that lone survivor multiplayer games not be allowed in China and discourages local development of such games. Honour of Kings, a Korean multiplayer survival game published by Tencent, is the most popular game in the genre in China. It slipped into the country before the SAPPRFT ruling and remains on sale with little to no competition in the country.
Bluehole, the publisher of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is not pleased with Epic’s foray into the same arena. While Fortnite Battle Royale is going free-to-play, Bluehole is pondering their relationship with Epic’s Unreal Engine 4. In an interview with GamesIndustry, Bluehole’s Chang Han Kim pointed out that while they pay Epic for their UE4 engine license, Epic has suddenly become a competitor, including the use of Battlegrounds in their marketing.
“We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press. This was never discussed with us and we don’t feel that it’s right.”
Whatever the outcome, it’s likely that Fortnite won’t be the last copycat of Battlegrounds. To date, Bluehole’s multiplayer phenomenon has sold over 11 million units on PC alone.
Are you one of the 10 million people playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds? Despite still being in early access on Steam, the Battle Royale multiplayer game from independent developer Bluehole is a sales hit. It’s a darling of streamers and YouTube gaming. In fact, Battlegrounds recently surpassed Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 as the most played games on Steam. It is a growth phenomenon. One can only wonder how much more it will sell when it launches on Xbox One by the end of the year.
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