China’s General Office from the China Audio-Video Copyright Association censured Bluehole Studios’ PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, claiming that the Battle Royale survival game was not conducive for China’s “socialist values”.
The statement from the General Office was published on October 30th, 2017 on the CGIGC, where criticisms were levied at South Korean development studio Bluehole Studio for making PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds “bloody” and “violent”, and that due to the game not having a proper publishing license for distribution in China, they advocate that the game shouldn’t be allowed in China, stating…
“This kind of game does not only contain a large number of bloody, violent content, but it’s similar to the ancient Roman gladiatorial game experience and the concept of survival set off a serious deviation from our socialist core values and the traditional Chinese culture and ethical norms, not Conducive to the physical and mental health of young consumers.
“In view of this, for the “Battle Royale” to encourage the killing, in particular, simply to kill the other players in the role of the game as a means to achieve the ultimate goal of [victory], the General Office clearly holds a negative attitude [toward the game], [and it] will be difficult to obtain [a] publishing license.”
While the General Office has attempted to steer companies away from doing business with Bluehole for officially establishing a presence in China, Quartz is reporting that Tencent Games is already in talks with negotiating a deal with Bluehole to publish the game in China right proper.
Some of you might be confused about this news because you’re probably thinking “Aren’t the Chinese already playing PUBG?” and the answer is “Yes!”. They are playing the game through Steam, but as the Quartz article explains, Valve’s storefront is operating in a gray market within China so that the content avoids the same scrutiny and the rules of software distribution by having to go through China’s official 10 Rules of Censorship.
However, if you want to officially advertise and sell a game in China it has to go through the proper channels, and so it sounds like Bluehole is already attempting to make that happen given that China is the largest market for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, as reported by SteamSpy’s Sergey Galyonkin, who revealed the massive growth the game is seeing from Chinese players.
Just your weekly reminder on how Asia is driving PUBG to the new heights, even as US players are dropping out pic.twitter.com/MNcc0meVBB
— Steam Spy (@Steam_Spy) October 30, 2017
Bluehole has been making tons of cash on the game and through partnering with a Chinese VPN in order to sell better ping to Chinese players. This was cause for much consternation back in early October, but Chinese players continue to pay to play so it’s doubtful things will change anytime soon, unless the Chinese government steps in. Bluehole is likely hoping to have a deal finalized with Tencent before that happens, though. The game is 2017’s best-selling game on a single platform, eclipsing more than 17 million copies sold.
Neither Tencent nor Bluehole offered a comment to Quartz about the negotiations nor the recent attack on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds by the Chinese General Office.