Tencent swaps out PUBG for Chinese game

By BLOOMBERG

HONG KONG • Tencent Holdings Ltd unveiled its latest entry in the battle royale death-match genre yesterday, allowing China’s largest social media company to begin cashing in on a red-hot gaming arena.

Its shares leapt as much as 3.7%, marking their biggest intraday climb in about two months. Tencent concurrently pulled the plug on the mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), a title it was never allowed to make money on after Beijing imposed a months-long freeze on approvals. The game’s testing phase formally ended yesterday, Tencent said in a notice to users.

Game for Peace — which pays homage to the Chinese military — closely mimics and complements PUBG’s gameplay, down to a similar interface and functions to help users migrate their in-game profiles. Its launch catapults Tencent finally into the thick of a genre that’s taken the industry by storm since the original PUBG kicked off years ago, helping jump-start the Chinese company’s waning growth.

Tencent’s suspension of its mobile hit game PUBG in China is likely a bid to migrate players to its new near-identical battle royale Game for Peace, which received monetisation approval in April.

This may allow Tencent to start generating sales from the lucrative genre.

“An earlier than expected launch of Game for Peace should drive strong re-acceleration in” second-half mobile revenue, Jefferies analysts wrote. — Bloomberg