Though PUBG plays second fiddle to Fortnite on home consoles and in the West, it’s vastly more popular on mobile and in emerging markets like India and China – it had nearly 300 million mobile downloads in 2018, putting Fortnite’s 82 million mobile installs to shame. But all of that is changing in China, as licensed developer and publisher Tencent have completely replaced PUBG with the anti-terrorism themed Game for Peace.
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. However, the millions upon millions of Chinese players haven’t been fooled, and despite Tencent asserting that “they are very different genres of games”, players chatting on China’s Weibo social media platform have noted that the game plays almost identically and their player stats are not too dissimilar from where they left off in PUBG.
The reason for the change? The inability for Tencent to monetise PUBG, as they were waiting for over year to gain approval through the Chinese government’s strict content laws. One particular change is the removal of blood and death – one Weibo user said, “When you shoot people, they don’t bleed, and the dead get up and wave goodbye!”
Now that it’s officially sanctioned by the government and Tencent can start to monetise the game, the 70 million daily active users that PUBG mobile previously attracted should see the company make money hand over fist. Analuysts at the investment bank China Renaissance say, “We expect Game for Peace could potentially generate 8 billion yuan to 10 billion yuan ($1.18 billion to $1.48 billion) in annual revenue.”