For many battle royale players around the world, PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds remains the game of choice. Enjoying its new home with over 5 million registered players on the Xbox ONE game console in USA, Europe, Canada, etc., PUBG is remaining a household name and changing itself for the better. A smaller 16km² map will soon release giving quicker paced rounds to players.
But not all of the changes happening to PUBG are what you’d expect, and the direction of the game is not really aimed at pleasing its western world audience. When the reality of this game is analyzed it becomes more obvious that China is PUBG’s area of focus, and with good reason.
PUBG Creator Regrets Bad-Mouthing Fortnite
In this week’s panel at the Game Developers Conference 2018, PUBG creator Brendan Greene was asked about his current thoughts on Fortnite. His statement introduced a drastically changed perspective in which he claims that he’s been misrepresented in the past as someone who is against Fortnite.
These days, Brendan Greene feels, “-it’s great that the battle royale space is expanding, and that Fortnite is getting -- into the hands of a lot more people. So, you know, it grows the genre.” marking a clear turnaround in his earlier stance. He goes on to say, “We’re all relatively friendly here.” and “I’ve really tried to combat that perception that I want other people’s games to die,-” showing a matured sense of responsibility and a clear regret for previous attitudes and actions taken towards competitors.
In the recent past, Greene was known for various incidents in which he spoke out against the game adding a Battle Royale mode which he felt was an attack on his intellectual property. Most of the game industry felt that a game mode can not be copyright protected and regardless of the similarity between the two games, Greene’s accusations which were rumored to border on lawsuit, simply fizzled out.
Shortly after these incidents the PUBG creator spoke out again stating that he felt the industry needed to provide better protection for PUBG and its concept. This was highly controversial as Greene himself was also the creator of H1Z1’s Battle Royale mode which still exists today, before abandoning the project to start PUBG.
Smaller Map + New Features Coming Soon
Taking a lesson from Fortnite in terms of quality over quantity, PUBG will be gaining a new and smaller map on its test server during April’s 1 year anniversary of PUBG.
At GDC 2018 the new map was given a detailed overview for fans and newcomers to the BR craze alike. There was also an interest expressed by the development team in returning to an Early Access type of feel through which player feedback will become more important to the development process again. As we mentioned during the introduction to this multi-faceted article, the map will be 16km² whereas the original PUBG map was 64km².
The new map is based on South Asia and should make for less boring areas, less running in between moments, faster and more action-filled gameplay, and less hiding with more emphasis on shooting similar to Fortnite’s alternative, aggressive style of Battle Royale tactics. In addition to this, there will also be another 64km² map developed for release soon for players who enjoy the current style of PUBG and don’t want to play on a smaller map.
Beyond the new maps there will also be a number of new features included in this year’s numerous updates to the game such as test servers, emotes, new skins for parachutes and weaponry, new vehicles and weapons, spectator mode, replay editor, preset saves, improved sound effects, improved parachutes, improved melee, improved animations, vaulting, climbing, limited time game modes (like Fortnite), flare guns, free KFC chicken dinner contests, and “PUBG Portal” – a way for players to give direct feedback that could help influence the design of future updates to the game.
PUBG Was Almost Banned In China
In a strange and ironic turn of events the Chinese government was pending an action to ban PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds from its country. China is extremely heavy-handed with censorship, and their citizens only have access to 10% of the internet. They can only read news from China, typically only interact with products made by companies in China, and completely control anything that their citizens can read, hear, see, or in this case play.
The reason given for PUBG to be considered for a ban was that it went against China’s “socialist core values and traditional Chinese culture and ethical norms”, a statement that is rumored to be a cover-up for a true reason. It’s widely believed that the Chinese government simply wanted a game that’s #1 audience is in China to be owned by China and bring in money to a Chinese company. Enter Tencent, which C.H. Kim, CEO of PUBG Corp claims will help “better align PUBG with socialist core values, Chinese traditional culture and moral rules.” potentially changing the course of PUBG’s development for its global audience forever.
Ma Huateng, the richest person in China, and the 11th richest person in the world, is the Founder of Tencent (the 5th largest internet company in the world). Tencent is a massive international corporation that recently became involved with huge investing practices including the purchase of League of Legends creators Riot Games, Clash of Clans / Clash Royale creators Supercell, and a large investor relationship to Epic Games. Tencent is now engaged in a partnership with PUB Corp, the depths of which remains to be seen.
Fans Want PUBG Region-Locked In China
In response to a massive commenting campaign from PUBG Fans on PC to “Region Lock China”, PUBG Creator uses a very weak excuse as to why the game won’t quarantine problematic China players with other China players. Brendan Greene says, “everyone that suggests region locking is forgetting about VPN,” even going as far as to claim that the new ping-based matchmaking is enough to fix the problem.
Fans aren’t happy with this and continue to insist on a Region-Lock system for China. The hacking is simply too out of hand and is ruining an experience that many people have spent millions of dollars on collectively supporting the game since day one.
There are plenty of players worldwide to justify each region having their own servers, or at least keeping China players who insist on racist voice chat and hacking to cheat at the game stuck in their own servers – but PUBG Corp refuses to even consider it.
99% Of Banned PUBG Hackers Are In China
With almost half of PUBG’s players in China, PUBG’s new anti-cheat software BattlEye found that 99% of the millions of player-bans it automatically issued went to Chinese players. A small percent numbering in thousands were American players who were later given their accounts back by the next day for what PUBG Corp called “accidental bans” along with an apology.
Some gamers who travel have reported that in China there are tons of cyber cafes that offer PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds cheating software for a small fee with the game already installed. Chinese ID is required to play video games now in these cafes. PC players are said to have the experience of North American and European servers filled with racist Chinese players shouting “China Number One” along with death threats and insults too vulgar to repeat here.
This is a similar problem to when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 1 & 2 first released in which down south Americans would have interracial shouting matches against each other before and after games in which open voice chat is enabled and everyone can hear each other. So far, Xbox players report less of these problems – probably because video game consoles were banned in China until very recently and Xbox is not popular in Asian countries.
PUBG Mobile Has Two Versions In China
PUBG: Exhilarating Battlefield and PUBG: Army Attack are the names of two completely different games available in China for the mobile platform. Exhilarating Battlefield is very similar to PUBG Mobile while Army Attack adds new features that haven’t been seen in the mainstream version everyone knows as PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds such as air and sea battles.
China is host to 600 million mobile gamers, and with many Xbox and PC fans of PUBG viewing the work that studios LightspeedQuantum and Timi have done – the North American and European fans are now left wishing they had these games in their regions. Meanwhile the western version of PUBG Mobile is being accused by a handful of prominent reporters of being populated by some percentage of bots to make first timers feel like they’re good at the game, only later allowing the ratio of real players to bots to increase. If true, this is a serious allegation RGN intends to follow up on in future articles.
With new features being added, more stable game engines being optimized, and a completely different platform of choice becoming the focus for PUBG it’s now becoming painfully clear which region the game is most interested in catering to. PUBG’s largest region of players reside in China, and they are going to be getting the special treatment from here on out. The partnership with Tencent only makes that even more obvious.
PUBG Twice As Popular In China
According to data from industry tool SteamSpy, 78% of Steam accounts in China own PUBG (and Chinese Steam players own only 16% as many games on average as Americans). This means that your average PC Gamer in China only plays PUBG right now, with an average playtime of 16 hours per week. That’s almost as much as a part time job and over twice as much gameplay as America’s total average of 7 hours playtime per week.
With cyber cafes in China offering PUBG pre-installed on high-end gaming computers, complete with cheating software for an additional fee – this is potentially a serious problem. RGN Staff play and enjoy PUBG both on Xbox and PC and personally have had a Steam Early Access copies since it exploded into popularity in the PC Gaming community last summer.
Given all of the evidence, we now fear that in the long run this game could become the victim of a situation in which the game companies controlling it enter an unhealthy relationship chasing after money at the expense of what made this game good and popular. Chinese players going to keep hacking and cheating at the game, and the development team has already told us they will not lock Chinese players into China-only servers. Banning cheaters has already become an imperfect solution with thousands of non-cheaters being given their accounts back the next day along with an apology.
What the future holds is unclear, but western PUBG fans could soon see themselves becoming a secondary priority to their favorite game, with a cheater-based culture considered the top paying customer and therefore primary concern. With so many western games releasing now with Battle Royale modes planned, it may be time for those who are feeling left out to jump ship to a new game. Of course, we do hope that PUBG Corp and Bluehole can instead balance these two markets. We offer this criticism as a chance to admit the problems of PUBG and use the soon to come feedback portal to let the developers know about these types of concerns.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20180324 and was last modified on 20180324 .