Censorship is a wonderful thing in the eyes of a writer and content creator.
Governments like to spur our creative juices, like in Singapore, creating the ‘fake news’ law. It allows us to imagine what is not there:
But I’m not here to talk about Singapore. Let’s talk about the place where some foreigners seem to think we are a part of: China.
PUBG’s shutdown and revival
Just in case you don’t know, PUBG stands for PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, a game that is on PC and mobile by a South Korean company Bluehole (now Krafton). You play the game by staying alive for the whole round to be the sole survivor among 100 people, with the playing area shrinking in size over time.
Well, the China government didn’t quite like the game because it is too gory.
Despite PUBG Mobile having 70 million average daily users in China, Tencent Holdings Ltd, the rights holder in China, isn’t earning a single cent from those users directly.
How most free mobile games like PUBG earn money is by charging players for cosmetic items that only affect how people look, but not the actual gameplay. That’s how the international version made US$100 million in less than half a year.
For the China version, the shop isn’t anywhere to be found because the Chinese Government didn’t allow that.
Instead, Tencent resorted to selling advertising space on cosmetics that are given free to players.
But when there’s money to be earned and you ain’t getting off it, no doubt you’re not happy. So Tencent took down PUBG and on the same day released a game that is PUBG-totally-not-PUBG called ‘Game for Peace’, or 和平精英, which translates to Peace Elites.
Oh, yes, the rights holder create a clone themselves.
It is exactly like PUBG…almost
For the most part, the game is 99% similar to PUBG gameplay wise, despite what Tencent wants us to think when they told Reuters “they are very different genres of games”. PUBG players were allowed to retain their levels and items to the “new” game.
But the main part is that there is no blood and deaths in a game about killing until the last man standing.
Instead of blood when getting shot, you get colourful green lights.
Instead of dying in the game, when you reach 0 health your character somehow becomes more energetic and sits up to wave goodbye before disappearing.
Which Chinese netizens say it reminds them of Tencent’s CEO Pony Ma waving at the People’s Congress.
Chinese netizens have mixed reactions
Chinese netizens are usually known to be very harsh, as is with this case.
A Guangzhou-based PUBG player said “It’s basically the same game with some tweaks,” and that the censorship “doesn’t really harm the gamer experience.”
And then there are the Weibo responses.
“I’m going to die of laughter…When you shoot people, they don’t bleed, and the dead get up and wave goodbye!”
“The waving feature is super annoying…Every time I saw that I felt [the enemies] were not dead, so I shot them some more.”
“How am I going to play the game if I can’t get any feedback on whether I’m hitting people?”
“I suggest that the game remove weapons as well since they are super violent. We can just hold our hands together, watch the sunset, and decide who’s the champion with rock paper scissors.”
You can see the gameplay here:
Game For Peace is VERY Patriotic
Another part of that 1% is that the game is basically a giant advertisement for the Chinese air force.
Tencent themselves even described Game for Peace as a game that “pays tribute to the blue sky warriors that guard our country’s airspace”, referring to the Chinese air force.
The tribute even goes as far as to put the Chinese air force logo right on the menu screen.
You see the Chinese jet planes in the resting area while waiting for other players.
Who also appears to have nothing better to do except guard the plane that drops players off into the
battle play ground.
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