After plans to secure proper monetization licenses in China failed for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Tencent has dropped the mobile version from the region.
Now the company is attempting to salvage the situation by moving players over to either Heping Jingying or Elite Force for Peace. The politics of securing ways to legitimately profit from games in China is different from other regions of the world, and so the company is reacting as best as it can.
As Heping Jingying already has its monetization approved by the Chinese Communist Party, it is primed to begin making money for Tencent. When one examines that game, the clear patriotic overtones stand out, and it is no surprise why it received its license for monetization, while fundamentally speaking, the game is in essence a clone of PUBG mobile.
From the beginning, PUBG faced an uphill battle to acquire approval. First, there has been a trend in recent years to reject games that foster violence or addiction. The state-run media People's Daily described another popular game, Honor of Kings, as "poison," and spreading "negative energy." In addition, Xinhua News Agency called upon those who develop similar types of games to do better in terms of content and implement stronger anti-addiction measures.
Despite these themes appearing often in the media, Government enforcement of these restrictions has been weak, based on results tracked and compiled by Charlie Dai, an analyst in Shanghai. Children, who are perceived most at risk in terms of addiction are easily able to bypass the necessity for authentic adult identity cards online. For this, a quick search online reveals that unlocking such restrictions is available as a service for as little as $1.50USD.
As technology improves in the future, such restrictions will be easier to enforce in theory. As facial recognition becomes more accurate and cost-effective to use, companies may begin to require confirmation of children receiving access with permission from their parents through more sophisticated methods. Parental controls already exist in many other games today. Battle.net for example allows parents to set a custom schedule that allows or restricts playtime.
For now, Tencent is not likely to suffer much in wake of the decision, as they allow users to transfer their PUBG characters over to Heping Jingying.