Tencent Has Pulled PUBG Mobile in China, Releases An Alternative Title

The mobile company will relocate its 70 million players to a friendly, government-approved clone.
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PUBG Mobile, Tencent's biggest title on mobile phones.
PUBG Mobile, Tencent's biggest title on mobile phones. Tencent

Family-friendly PUBG. What a time to be alive.

And it debuts in China as well. According to a report from Reuters and the Financial Times, mobile gaming giant Tencent has dropped PUBG Mobile from its biggest userbase: China. This is most likely due to the fact that the game has failed to secure a license from the Chinese government, and now Tencent has no way to actually monetize it. You can read more regarding the Chinese gaming market and its licenses in a previous report here.

In lieu of PUBG Mobile, Tencent will migrate its entire Chinese playerbase to a tamer and friendlier title, called Heping Jingying, or Elite Force for Peace in English. Elite Force for Peace was already licensed for monetization beforehand, and it’s not really hard to figure out why; the Chinese Communist party approved it for its ‘patriotic overtones,’ with one analyst describing the title as a tribute of sorts to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, a part of China’s military. It also has very strong anti-terrorism themes.

A couple of users on Reddit have since looked into Elite Force for Peace in order to assess just how different it is from PUBG Mobile. It certainly is.. interesting, to say the least. In terms of the core gameplay and shooting mechanics, not much has changed, although one of the most jarring differences come from the death animation. Once you ‘eliminate’ another character, they don’t outright die; instead, they drop on their knees, drop their loot in front of them and wave at you. I watched the five-second clip for a good five minutes before it sunk into me that that was actually real.

In addition to this, Elite Force for Peace doesn’t feature any blood at all. The Chinese government has also deemed that a ‘last man standing’ scenario is too brutal, so instead all of the top five players in every game are considered the winner. They can then either: quit, but still effectively win, or partake further in a match against the other top players. Then they get a birthday cake on the ground and live happily ever after.

Only time will tell if this transition will go over smoothly, or if Tencent will actually receive blowback from its userbase in China. The final count of players in China alone for PUBG Mobile were estimated to be roughly 70 million players, and it would be surprising if a single one of those didn’t like the move away from PUBG Mobile.

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