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Chinese tech giant drops PUBG after game faces flak in Gujarat, 3 countries

Tencent had been offering a mobile version of "PUBG Mobile" -- which is published by a subsidiary of South Korean firm Bluehole -- for about a year

AFP | PTI  |  Shanghai 

pubg

Chinese tech and on Wednesday ceased offering the hugely popular multi-player combat game "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" which has been targeted for bans in three other countries.

Often likened to the blockbuster book and film series "The Hunger Games", pits marooned characters against one another in a virtual fight to the death, and has become one of the world's most popular mobile games.

But authorities in Iraq, and the Indian state of have moved to ban it over fears that it incited violence.

had been offering a mobile version of "Mobile" -- which is published by a subsidiary of South Korean firm -- for about a year.

But a posting on the game's official account on China's popular platform said "testing" for "Mobile" ended Wednesday, an apparent indication that failed to win approval from Chinese authorities to offer it permanently.

Instead, it directed users to a newly launched and nearly identical Tencent-licensed title called "Game for Peace".

A separate Tencent posting said "Game for Peace" designers sought advice from China's air force in developing the game, which may have helped it to win approval.

AFP was not immediately able to reach Tencent for comment.

Tencent has been rattled by a crackdown on launched last year that has choked off game approvals.

Smartphone-based has surged in popularity in China, particularly violent multi-player titles like "Honor of Kings", making the game industry's biggest market.

But official concerns over addiction prompted the government last year to impose new controls such as limiting the number of new releases, and safeguards that reduce playing time for underage gamers.

The crackdown shaved around $250 billion off the company's stock market value by late last year, though shares have largely recovered as some game approvals subsequently resumed.

The gaming industry had been watching to see whether Tencent would gain approval to permanently offer "PUBG Mobile" due to its potential to generate big profits for the company.

But Tencent's Hong Kong-listed shares rose 1.05 percent on Wednesday, with analysts saying "Game of Peace" will give the company something to monetise in place of "PUBG Mobile.

First Published: Wed, May 08 2019. 16:15 IST
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