Tencent Faces Backlash In China After Taking PUBG Down

FILE PHOTO: People attend the PUBG Global Invitational 2018, the first official esports tournament for the computer game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in Berlin, Germany, July 26, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo)

Tech giant Tencent is taking a lot of heat from Chinese gamers after the company decided to pull the plug off of one of its most popular titles. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, or more popularly known as PUGB, is one of the hottest game in China. Now, Tencent is facing a lot of backlashes after it decided to pull it off of its platform.

Tencent defended its decision to take down PUBG citing that the testing period for the game has expired. The company posted this on its official social media account saying that the testing period for the game ended on Wednesday. The company provided no further reason about the takedown and instead redirect gamers to the download page of Game for Peace, another video game.

Since its release, PUBG appears to be a huge success for Tencent. According to research done by Sensor Tower, gamers have spent more than $320 million on the game. Tencent's decision to take the very popular down has caused a massive uproar on a number of social media platforms. The hashtag "PUBG is gone" has been read and shared more than 550 million times.

Despite the massive success of PUBG in China, some reports claim that Tencent did not make any money from it at all. The reason behind this is that Tencent was not allowed to sell subscriptions or in-game purchases for PUBG, as well as other popular gaming titles after the Chinese government imposed new regulatory rules.

The Chinese government stated that it wanted to regulate the number of new online games that are being released in the country. Moreover, regulators also want to limit game time, especially for minors. The new regulation is part of China's effort to mitigate the effect of video games on the physical health of children. A number of studies have revealed that the explosion of the video game industry in China has resulted in an uptick in reports of nearsightedness in children.

Despite the massive backlash, some analysts agree that Tencent should be able to staunch the losses with the release of Game for Peace, a game that is fully backed by the Chinese government.

In January, Tencent received a number of approvals for some of its games. However, some analysts speculate that the company's decision to pull PUBG off of its platform means that it did not receive full approval to monetize one of its most valuable assets.

Tencent has yet to comment about its recent decision.

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