Failing after a year’s effort to monetize the phenomenal battle royale game PUBG Mobile, Tencent is dropping the game from its roster and launching a nearly identical replacement called Game for Peace.
The public beta of Tencent’s new mobile game will go online today. Players and live streamers who were offered a sneak peek have noted how the game’s mechanics are almost the same as those in PUBG Mobile, though Game for Peace puts players in roles that are part of counter-terrorism military operations.
After Tencent received a monetization license for Game for Peace, Zack Fu, founding partner of Guangdian Capital, told KrASIA that it was an “important successor of PUBG.”
The new game has the potential of displacing Honour of Kings as Tencent’s most popular—and most profitable—game offering, largely because it would inherit PUBG Mobile’s massive player base, Liao Xuhua, a gaming analyst at Beijing-based data consultancy Analysys, told KrASIA.
“The global revenue of [PUBG Mobile] would be a good indicator that [Game for Peace] could be a bigger success than Honour of Kings,” Liao said. As of the end of March, PUBG Mobile had earned more than USD 320 million in markets outside China since its global release in February 2018.
“The VAS (value-added service) revenue from Game For Peace can potentially become a strong sales driver for Tencent,” Guangdian Capital’s Fu said, adding that downstream industries will also benefit from the new game. “E-sports operators will also benefit through promotions of those games in professional e-sports tournaments and live-streaming,” he said.
Tencent also confirmed today that a pilot version of its new anti-game addiction program, which locks out players under 16 unless they have parental approval, will be part of the safeguards for Game for Peace.
PUBG Mobile’s replacement in China has been a well-guarded secret of Tencent, China’s largest gaming company. Only a small group of game developers and Tencent executives knew about the existence of this game before it received a gaming licence from the government last month. Most industry observers and even staff members at the studio that developed Game for Peace did not know what Game for Peace looked like until last night.
But it’s no surprise to people who follow China’s gaming industry that Tencent would eventually find a way to cash in on one of its most successful games. Liao said that many gamers and industry personnel have speculated that this shift would come, and pointed out that many gamers in the country “find it understandable.”
In the months leading up to Game for Peace’s launch, Tencent has been vocal about its disappointment that PUBG Mobile had failed to monetize in China, the world’s largest gaming market. In fact, Tencent president Martin Lau implied at a press conference in March that PUBG Mobile’s overseas success and the difficulties surrounding its domestic monetization led the company to bolster its presence overseas.