Known to most as PUBG, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds latest installment has been at the forefront of gaming controversy over the past few weeks. Why? This is because it’s very unlikely that the game will ever receive an official license in China. China houses PUBG’s biggest player population so the potential ban from China could be detrimental to the game and company itself. This all came to light when PUBG announced their release of the vaulting and climbing mechanics on test server. Now, we know that China has always been seen as a very strict and critical client when it comes to what multimedia is allowed into the country but, what exactly has caused such a change in judgement surrounding PUBG?
What are the concerns?
If you’ve ever seen or read one of the top grossing franchises by the name of The Hunger Games, then you’ll have an idea of what PUBG is. The basis of the game is a last-man standing violent brawl between 100 other players on a desert island. Sounds fun? China doesn’t think so. The game’s so called Battle Royale style of gameplay has been seen to cause addiction in young people and normalise violence against peers. With China being a very socialist country, we can evidently see why the gladiator mentality is not something that they want to have instilled in their children and adolescents by over exposure.
Various users of PUBG have already voiced their general concerns and difficulties when trying to play. One of the biggest issues is that China’s local servers aren’t as fast as many other international ones. Therefore, many players are seen connecting to international servers to try and enjoy the game to its fullest. It really is something when the ping is less on an international server connection than a local one. With this considerable hindrance in their gaming time, players are already disheartened that little to nothing is being done to reduce the pings and unbalancing in their game.
Undermining China’s core values
In addition to the general dissatisfaction of it’s service users, PUBG has also been subject to the backlash of many officials whilst attempting to seek out licensing. The Bloomberg report quotes that the game “deviates from the values of socialism and is deemed harmful to young consumers.” Many officials believe that Player Unknown Battlegrounds gaming infrastructure and content undermine and unappreciate a lot of China’s core values and beliefs. Featured in China’s content watchdog they strongly advocate that Player Unknown Battleground is “not conducive to the physical and mental health of young consumers”.
The sheer amount of violence in the game alone is not the entire reason for the ban. When we think back to games like Honour of Kings, we see that China is not averse to violent and graphic games. However, the fact that PUBG is so realistic in it’s character designs and settings, make for the game to feel too close to reality. The environment it’s hosted in is too similar to the one Chinese citizens live in and therefore could guide the people of China further and further away from its socialistic values.