Tencent to stop PUBG game in China amidst regulatory uncertainty

Customers at an internet cafe play online games in Beijing. Photographer:Nelson Ching/ Bloomberg

Tencent Holdings Ltd said on Wednesday it will stop offering in China its test version of global best-selling video game “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” (PUBG), having waited in vain for over a year to gain regulatory approval to begin sales.

The Chinese video gaming leader said in November 2017 it would bring the gory game to China, and gave it a socialist makeover to meet stringent government rules when it informally launched the title the following February.

South Korean-made PUBG was named by global game distributor Steam as one of its highest-grossing titles of 2018, and industry insiders estimated Tencent could rake in revenue of $1 billion if it was allowed to earn income from it.

“The testing phase for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds officially ends on May 8. We thank everyone for the support they have given us so far,” showed a post on the game’s official account on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform.

Tencent did not immediately respond to requests for further comment from Reuters.

The Weibo post also announced the Wednesday launch of a similar Tencent-licenced title, “Game for Peace”, which obtained monetisation approval from authorities in April.

Jefferies analysts said the earlier-than-expected launch of the tactical shooting game, which is a tribute to China’s air force, boded well for Tencent’s gaming growth in the second half of this year.

“Despite the simultaneous shut-down of PUBG, direct migration of user data and purchases should lower churn risk,” they said in a research note, referring to stemming the loss of users by shifting PUBG data to Game for Peace.

The topic, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is gone” was the most viewed subject on Weibo on Wednesday, with over 300 million clicks and close to 90,000 posts.

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Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.