Battlegrounds gets review bombed over Chinese in-game VPN ads

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the hottest game around right now, but even it isn't immune to review bombing

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the hottest game around right now, selling around 1m copies a month, and just last week hitting 1.5m concurrent users, a peak that is now the new normal for the game as it climbs towards an even higher player cap.

In fact, it’s doing so well that Bluehole has announced the game is launching its own subsidiary company, PUBG CORP.

However, that doesn’t mean it is immune to the process known as ‘review bombing’, when a large group bands together to leave a mass of negative reviews on a game, it’s often a punishment for a developer daring to be in any way progressive, or making a decision the community disagree with. While it’s a reprehensible action, here it seems to have at least some merit.

Some background: Battlegrounds is fully localised in China, however Chinese players have been complaining of problems with lag on their regional servers, meaning they’re required to connect to European or North American games to have an enjoyable experience. On the flip side of this NA and EU players have been complaining that these ping-tourists are causing issues in their games, a claim nearly impossible to verify unless you ask to see someone’s passport before you shoot them. Regardless it’s now become part of the conversation around the issue.

Chinese players are now reporting in-game advertisement for a VPN service that’s promoting itself as an ‘accelerator’ that will boost connections to international servers. This creates two big issues: firstly, the existence of advertising in a game that isn’t free to play in the first place is problematic for the players, but also the fact that the general feeling is that Bluehole should be seeking to improve the Chinese servers rather than advertising tools to allow affected players to pay more money to circumvent the problem.

The end result? 10,000 negative reviews.