China’s got a lot of problems, and in the great scheme of things, their obsession with censoring and controlling video games is a very small one. But it’s been a big problem for Chinese mobile developer and public enemy number seven (I think) of the video game public, Tencent. Specifically because while they had the rights to publish and distribute PUBG on mobile phones in China, they did not have any rights to monetize it because of a game publishing freeze and updated censorship laws. This must have been very frustrating for the company, because they had what could be one of the most popular and financially viable games in the world at their disposal but thanks to a few strips of red tape they couldn’t make any money with it.
In response, Tencent has now pulled PUBG from the mobile marketplace, and replaced it with a game that so comically in-line with party values part of me thinks it’s some kind of bitter parody.
Called “Game for Peace”, this new PUBG is being billed as a “training exercise for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force”. Instead of using real guns, you’re using paintball shooters, and when you take down an enemy they don’t die. Instead, they kneel down, wave as if to say, “Haha you got me you scamp!” then drop a loot box that contained all their loot. It also reminds players to stop playing after a while.
While state censorship like this is all kinds of gross, I have to admit, there’s a wholesomeness to this that almost makes it charming. If it weren’t for the fact that this game was the product of an evil regime bearing down on a money-hungry multi-billion dollar company, I’d actually be tempted to play it.
Regardless of how gross it may or may not be, the game is doing very well and has rocketed up sales in China ever since it launched. As long as people are having fun, I guess.