Tencent To Distribute PUBG In China, But The Game Will Change

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This game's pretty fun.
This game's pretty fun. Bluehole Studio

Tencent has acquired the rights to distribute PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in China, Reuters reports, following months of rumors and speculation about a potential acquisition of the game’s publisher, Bluehole Studio Inc. The holding company says changes will be made to some of the game’s content, the scope of which aren’t clear yet, to ensure PUBG doesn’t offend the “socialist core values” of China’s ruling Communist Party.

We’ve known for several weeks that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds could run afoul of Chinese censors, after an organization closely allied with the government accused PUBG of promoting values at odds with those promoted by President Xi Jinping and the Community Party. Getting out ahead of a potential ban makes sense on paper, but it’s not clear what changes Tencent could make with Bluehole and PUBG Corporation that wouldn’t fundamentally alter the nature of the game. Reuters says some of PUBG’s regional competitors have already incorporated banners that condemn acts of violence and ask players to “safeguard national security”. But only time will tell what sorts of changes Tencent is planning for one of the biggest games of 2017.

In other news, the second major test of Battlegrounds’ viability as an Esport (IEM Oakland) has come and gone. And it apparently left quite a bit to be desired. Kotaku and PC Gamer had reporters in the crowd and it sounds like the current tournament format doesn’t create enough tension. It’s hard to follow the bursts of action when 75 percent of the playing field is still alive during the fourth phase of the game. But there are moments that suggest competitive PUBG could still be a thing.

It’s not particularly shocking if you recall our chat with the man behind the battle royale genre. Last month, PUBG Creative Director Brendan Greene was rather blunt when he told us the game is “not Esports ready” yet. The good news is that many of the complaints from the latest PUBG tournament, like a scoring structure that incentivizes slow play, sound like relatively easy problems to solve. But it’s unlikely we’ll see Bluehole spend much time worrying about tournament formats until they get PUBG’s launch build out the door next month.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is available in Early Access. The launch build is expected to hit Steam in late December and a Xbox One port is currently slated for Dec. 12.

Be sure to check back with Player.One and follow Scott on Twitter for more PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news in 2017 and as long as PUBG Corp. supports PUBG in the years ahead.

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