PUBG may never officially launch in China, after all

PUBG may never officially launch in China, after all

Some formerly avid "PUBG" players on Chinese social media said that when they booted up the new Communist Party-approved game, they found themselves at a similar level to where they left off in the now defunct program. After waiting over a year to capitalize on that popularity, Tencent abruptly announced on Wednesday that PUBG's "testing period" had come to an end.

AFP was not immediately able to reach Tencent for comment. In other words, Tencent isn't allowed to earn revenue from the game, meaning the cost of running the servers and maintaining the game can never be recouped.

Game for Peace was pushed out as an update to the game and is effectively just PUBG reskinned and rebranded, ostensibly paying tribute to China's air force.

Other than its patriotic dressing and bloodless combat, Tencent's new game is nearly identical to PUBG.

The hashtag "PUBG is gone" has since gone viral with more than 300 million views and 90,000 posts.

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"The game-play, the background, the graphic design and the characters, they're nearly the same".

"I'm going to die of laughter", said one Weibo user, translated by Reuters. Game for Peace has been developed specifically to get through China's strict games vetting process by scaling down violence, removing most blood effects and defeated players rising "to wave goodbye".

The crackdown shaved around US$250 billion (RM1 billion) off the company's stock market value by late past year, though shares have largely recovered as some game approvals subsequently resumed.

In a post on Weibo, Tencent revealed it has given up on the titles and his instead now launched a brand new battle royale game that it has gained approval to make money from: Game for Peace. The game is described as sort of a PUBG-clone, and Tencent is already offering existing PUBG players a way to migrate their accounts.