PUBG’s Alternative in China Earns $14M in 3 Days

PUBG’s Alternative in China Earns $14M in 3 Days

PUBG  or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or as it’s more commonly known, kicked off the trend of battle royale games when it started during 2017. The mobile version of this popular game has proven extremely popular around the world, but especially in Asia. After months of discussions with the Chinese government, developer Tencent has replaced PUBG with an alternative approved by government. Now, that game has crossed $14 million in its first three days of operation.


The Battle Royale genre is dominant in gaming — PUBG is only the slope of the iceberg. Fortnite from Epic Games has become an even better hit than PUBG, but the mobile version hasn’t made the same impact in Asia as it has in the US. Some societies in India have even tried to ban people from playing PUBG Mobile. PUBG Mobile App has been available as a beta in China for some time, but the government refused to let the developer monetize it.


Tencent is based in China, so it operates at the whims of Chinese leadership. The developer announced last week that it would shut down the test version of PUBG Mobile App in China. As a replace, players got “Game for Peace.” The game looks and works almost exactly like PUBG Mobile App. Account unlocks and progression even passed over. It’s still a shooter, but the action is framed as an anti-terrorist drill, and there’s no blood. When you take out another player, they wave at you from the ground so you know they are ok.


This more “patriotic” version of the game made its debut three days ago with government approval to generate revenue via in-app purchases. It almost instantly rocketed to the top of the top-grossing titles in the market of  Apple App Store.

An app analytics firm tracking Tencent says the launch has been a huge achievement. In the first three days of its launching, Sensor Tower reports that Game for Peace earned $14 million. Which is roughly six times more than PUBG Mobile made in any other market in the world during that time. It says nothing of Android, which is far more popular in China. It will be difficult if not impossible to accurately guess  revenue from Android as there is no centralized repository of Android apps and games in China (As Google does not operate there).


Whereas  the changes to make PUBG acceptable to the Chinese government are objectively silly, it is easy to see why Tencent was willing to comply. The Chinese market is huge, and many customers there rely on their smartphones for all their media consumption. The free-to-play mobile version of a game like PUBG can make more revenue  than a paid desktop version.


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