PUBG bombed with over 20,000 negative Steam reviews for Chinese in-game ads


TechSpot Editor
Staff member

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has taken the PC gaming world by storm. It passed the 10 million units sold mark in September, and just broke the record for concurrent number of steam players, reaching an amazing 1,645,460 people. But despite all this, the battle royal title has just been review bombed with a slew of negative ratings.

Unlike the recent review bombing of Firewatch, which came about after developer Sean Vanaman filed a DMCA takedown against PewDiePie for his racial slur, Battlegrounds’ negative reviews are the result of an in-game element, but one that’s only present in China.

Over 23,000 critical reviews have appeared on PUBG’s Steam page over the last few days, mostly from Chinese players angry at ads for a third-party VPN appearing in the game.

PUBG players in China often experience game-ruining lag when connected to Asian servers, forcing them to join servers in Europe or North America. This influx can cause lag problems for native players in these regions, making the game unplayable for everyone.

The ads in question, which are present on the game’s lobby screen, are for a VPN “accelerator” that claims to improve connections to international servers. Not only has the appearance of advertisements in a paid-for game outraged those who see them, but most Chinese players believe developer Bluehole should be working to improve the game's technical issues, rather than making money from the local servers’ inadequacies.

Not every one of the recent negative reviews are related to the ads. Some come from players across the world who are protesting against the new stream sniping rules, while the rest are the result of other PUBG issues, such as server downtime.

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PUBG is going to go down like Ark. Very popular at the beginning only to get stuck in perpetual development and monitization schemes later on.


TS Evangelist
PUBG is going to go down like Ark. Very popular at the beginning only to get stuck in perpetual development and monitization schemes later on.
They are looking to push loot boxes pretty hard from what I gathered, because they honestly know it's going to all fall out from under them. Sure they might not have the competition from Epic's Fortnite, even though they happily gave them a lot of free publicity.

What better way to keep someone hooked, than when you're spending real money on an account. Epic is holding the license to their engine, and basically the general source for all their assets. So I wouldn't be surprised they start having more problems if they feel uneasy about everything.

They would have likely lost the battle royale war, if they had to do their own engine but what better way than to buy a pre-built one? Epic has done well for itself over the years with each engine. I'm going to shake my head if someone surpasses them, because people are not going to be loyal forever.

Some people want certain things but, there's nothing really filling the gaps currently I would imagine. Once those needs are fulfilled in another game, people will quickly jump ship. Especially if they have no real motivation to stick around, even money invested isn't always a strong enough reason to stay.


TechSpot Paladin
Owned, mess with the Chinese and feel their wrath! Their wrath of negative reviews!!! Oh I'm sure this time Bluehole has learned their lesson... The amount of bad publicity has just about guaranteed I will not be buying this beta title, oh and that too, it's still not out of early access, still lots of bugs, and then the streamers are running the show because losers, so pass it's not even funny.

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Perhaps they need to take a lesson from the old broadcast industry. Keep the ads in the game, but make the game free to the players; after all, they are bombarding us with their diatribe so they should be willing to pay us for our time or give us the game in exchange for our attention. What say ye?
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TS Member
I can't believe the greediness of the Devs!

At first they ban lots of players to appease streamers who bring a little bit publicity of their game on Twitch.
Then they implement Micro-Transactions IN AN EARLY ACCESS GAME.
And now they force ads on chinese servers for even more money.

Not to forget that the PUBG Dev also accused Fortnite of "stealing" their idea with the Battle Royale genre

I want to say that the devs of PUBG are absolutely disgusting and I am never ever going to buy any game made by those people
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TS Guru
I enjoyed this game for about a month, but it got old pretty fast. The engine is buggy. It looks and feels old. They system is pretty clunky. The devs are a bunch of douche bags too. It's all about money, they hardly care about the condition of the game as long as they make money off of it.