China replaces PUBG with patriotic game

Image source, Tencent
Image caption,
Tencent had been testing a mobile version of PUBG

Chinese internet giant Tencent has scrapped the launch of a hit video game in China, after failing to get regulatory approval.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PubG) is a battle-royale video game, similar to the global hit Fortnite, in which 100 players fight for survival.

PubG was developed in South Korea but Tencent had licensed the game and was testing a mobile app version in China.

Players in China have been offered a state-approved alternative instead.

Socialist themes

PubG is already a popular game around the world. It was named as one of the highest-grossing titles on the Steam video game store in 2018.

Tencent had been testing a mobile version of the game in China and said 70 million people were playing daily.

But the company failed to get the necessary approval to offer in-app purchases and could not make money from the game.

Announcing the closure on micro-blogging site Weibo, the company said players could download the state-approved Force for Peace instead.

The game is similar in style to PubG but removes some depictions of violence and adds some socialist themes.

"It's almost exactly the same," games analyst Cui Chenyu, from IHS Markit, told the Reuters news agency.

"The game-play, the background, the graphic design and the characters, they're almost the same."

Force For Peace will even let players carry over their ranking and in-game items from PubG Mobile.