Anyone who has played PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds on PC knows about the most complained about issue in that game: the cheating. Gamers have long since asked PUBG Corporation to curb the cheating problem by region restricting the servers, because it turns out that almost all of the cheating comes from one country: China.
According to Youxi Story, there's a detailed report on how more than 30 million people play PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and that out of that 30 million 46% happen to be from China. What might surprise you is that 99% of cheaters in PUBG Corporation's Battle Royal survival game happen to also come from China.
The data about the cheaters comes from PUBG Corp's new BattlEye anti-cheating initiative, where the data revealed that 99% of the players banned for cheating came from China.
The article is an illuminating affair about the commerce behind cheating in mainland China. There are plug-in dealers, agents that attempt to sell players cheats, and anonymous programmers making the plug-ins to make some quick cash by designing cheats. It's the next step over from China's previously lucrative gold farming trade, which used to be huge business during the mid-aughts when games like World of Warcraft and City of Heroes were topping the charts as some of the biggest games generating the highest revenue month in and month out.
These days, times have changed and MMOs are no longer the top of the crop when it comes to player engagement. The freemium model still makes big bucks, but usually that's in the mobile space and browser space, where more casual gamers play.
The hardcore crowd has always been a prime target of gray market services, such as mods and plug-ins. Hence, it's no surprise that the biggest game on the market these days -- PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds -- is the chief target of plug-in operators and agents looking to sell potential cheaters an opportunity to cheat in the game and move up in the ranks.
Of course, the big question for most gamers becomes: Why China?
Well, the plug-in market is operated out of China, has Chinese agents selling the plug-ins, has Chinese programmers making it, and makes most of its sales through Chinese messaging services such as Tencent's QQ and the Weibo portal, both of which are chiefly used by Chinese internet users.
Essentially, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' cheating culture is themed mostly around Chinese internet culture, which is what makes it difficult for gamers who don't speak Mandarin to make use of said services.
Nevertheless, creating cheat programs is considered copyright infringement, and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Chinese publisher, Tencent, has made it a priority to start shutting down cheat distributors, including working with law enforcement to have them arrested. PUBG Corporation has taken an extra step to prevent all third-party mods from being used in the game, including shader mods.
Tencent also plans on opening China-specific servers for the launch of the game in the mainland, which many believe will cut down on cheaters accessing international servers. From there, Tencent will then need to start cracking down on local cheaters if there are plans to maintain any sort of growth for PUBG Corporation's Battle Royale game in China.