PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds may have just broken 17 million sales on Steam, and it could be reaching 18 million if SteamSpy is to be believed, but it could be losing its pull in a very big market: China.
The China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association claims in a statement to Bloomberg Tech that the game is not up to par with “socialist core values and the traditional Chinese culture and ethical norms.” In other words, it isn’t meeting China’s socialist core values. It’s too bloody and violent, apparently, to be sold in the country, and the “gladiators-style mentality” of the game is “harmful” to young players.
Because of this, it seems as though it’s going to be very unlikely that PUBG will receive an official license for China. Previously, content like The Big Bang Theory and even BoJack Horseman was banned in the country, so with all the violence and other demerits against it, PUBG is an obvious candidate for banning from the country.
Currently, Chinese players are only able to download PUBG and run it via VPNs since there is no official distributor in China, which is why the Chinese gaming company Tencent Holdings Ltd. was looking to acquire licensing rights from South Korea’s Bluehole Inc., PUBG’s publisher. Without an official method to distribute the game, a massive part of the PUBG player base will be unable to jump in and get their battle royale on, a huge blow to the title’s overall success.
While all violent games aren’t banned in China, just the ones that tend to go against what the country stands for, it’s going to be tough for PUBG to get out of this one. Hopefully there’s some sort of concession to be made for Chinese gamers to get in on the action officially, once and for all.