PUBG and Its Esports Streams Reportedly Getting Censored in China
Leaker PlayerIGN revealed that all Player Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) streams, including its esports events, could be getting censored in China. The PUBG Continental Series 5 is ongoing and while it is still being broadcasted on egame.gg, all old broadcasts have been removed. Attempting to visit the older VODs redirects fans to an empty page. According to the leaker, the disappearance of the VODs could be linked to self-censorship by Tencent Games.
What does self-censorship mean for PUBG in China?
Players can still play PUBG PC in China, but streaming services are reportedly removing the game from its websites. According to a report by Upcomer, teams like NewHappy and Games Forever Young have been notified of the situation and the game’s publisher is yet to release an official statement.
The censorship of PUBG PC in China is similar to what happened to its mobile counterpart PUBG Mobile. Tencent was initially the sole distributor of PUBG Mobile in China and the company removed the game in May 2019 due to government regulations. The company released a clone of PUBG Mobile dubbed ‘Peacekeeper Elite’, which adheres to the Chinese government’s guidelines for violence in video games. The PUBG Clone does not feature any gore or the mention of the word “kill.”
The Peacekeeper Elite game is similar to Battlegrounds Mobile India, another PUBG clone that was released in India after the country’s government banned PUBG Mobile. The premise of the game states that it takes place in a virtual simulation training ground, that it is not real combat, and does not involve the killing of other players.
The PUBG Continental Series 5 (PCS5) event is ongoing and it is set to conclude on 3rd October 2021. If streaming platforms remove PUBG, it will restrict teams and organizers from broadcasting events. PlayerIGN tweeted that the “game’s closed off on Tencent’s egame.qq. DouYu censorship. Huya is silent.”
If PUBG does get censored in China, the country’s youth will not be able to spend any of the three hours/week gaming playtime, which was imposed by China, to watch PUBG PC livestreams. The leaker also revealed that “these changes not only affects each platform but also PUBG steamers, esports, and third party companies. Organizations, creators, and dozens of domestic companies are expected to go dark.”