Bluehole Studios issued a statement on their official website about the server issues that gamers have been encountering. The top of the post explains that they designed the setup to handle up to 1 million concurrent players and that the game has topped this by over 600,000 players, according to GameZone.
The bottom of the post, however, skitters over the Asia server issue like a stone skipping water. They don’t mention the region by name, but instead simply lob the Chinese gamers into the broad “Asia” category with the following statement…
“Many players have asked us about the increased number of server crashes in Asia. Recently, the number of concurrent players in Asia has rapidly increased and there were times the cloud service we’ve been using could not provide more physical servers. To address this problem, we added servers from another cloud service without sufficient testing. Some servers overloaded, which caused frequent crashes. Our development team is investigating the issue in order to prevent it from happening in the future.”
If you take a look at the review bombing taking place over on the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Steam page you’ll notice that the issue is a small part of the base complaining about being banned for “stream-sniping” while tens of thousands of Chinese gamers are complaining about being forced to pay for a proxy to connect to the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds servers to play with occidental gamers since there are no native servers for Chinese gamers.
The current negative reviews have spike downward quite significantly.
Chinese gamer Euphonium uses the platform to speak on behalf of other Chinese players to eloquently explain what the problem is and why it’s affecting so many players in the region in a bad way, writing…
“Because there is no Chinese server and playing in any server like NA or AS will give players a lag over 200ms, nearly every single player in China needs to spend considerable extra cash compared to the price of the game monthly to purchase access of a net proxy to get rid of the lag. Usually 4 months membership fee of a decent proxy costs the same money to buy a PUBG. But instead of trying to solve that problem for the region that has the most players in the world, Bluehole just made partnership with the most popular proxy company in China and claimed it to be the official proxy for PUBG. And that is absolutely ludicrous!”
79% of other gamers agree with Ephonium about the issue.
Bluehole acknowledging the issue with the Asia servers but not making any mention about adding a dedicated Chinese server is quite odd. However, if it’s true that Bluehole is getting a cut from the partnership with the proxy provider, and just about every Chinese player will need to pay a fee to access the proxies to get decent ping, then there’s no financial incentive to change up the model as it currently stands. The question is: will Bluehole choose to do right by the players and restore their reputation or will they opt to stick with making money from the thousands of Chinese players forced to pay for proxies to get decent ping in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds?
These sort of anti-consumer conundrums can make or break a company, and Bluehole is already in hot water over introducing microtransactions before the game even exited Early Access. It could be a case of greed winning out over integrity, but we’ll see if the company actually addresses the Asia server issue by making the game more accessible for Chinese gamers.
(Main image courtesy of Just Mouth)