Largest Gaming Company in the World Bringing PUBG to China, Changes Being Made to Accommodate Socialist Values

The most valuable tech, media, and gaming company in the world, Tencent, revealed this morning [...]

The most valuable tech, media, and gaming company in the world, Tencent, revealed this morning that it has procured the rights to publish PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in China. This is going to make the biggest company in gaming even bigger, but not before a few subtle changes are made to the game. China has some pretty tight restrictions about what kind of media its denizens consume and, at the moment, PUBG is just a little too violent.

Reuters reported (via Kotaku) that China's media censor took issue with PUBG, saying that it was excessively violent. The game is definitely violent, there's no getting around that, but it's pretty tame compared to what else we've seen in the West. That won't fly in China, though, and the game apparently deviates from China's "socialist core values, traditional Chinese culture and moral norms."

That means some things have to go. Blood, for example, will very likely be removed or altered. This happened with CS:GO when it launched in China; the color of the blood was changed from red to black to make the game appear less violent. While it hasn't been said outright, there's also a chance that the character models could be altered to appear less realistic. A recent niko article speculates that games like Fortnite: Battle Royale would have an easier time getting approved in China since the overall aesthetic and depictions of violence are less realistic.

But if the violence is toned down, and in-game elements are altered, can we really still call it PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds? Personally, I don't take any issue with censorship of this kind if it means bringing great gameplay to an entirely new market.

Western values, whether you do or don't believe that they are the best, are not the only extant values, and the world is becoming more globally focused. I'll be fascinated to see how Tencent and BlueHole work together to satisfy the government's regulations, and to see how popular PUBG is in China, which is one of the largest media markets in the world.