PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a massive hit with more than 27 million copies sold in less than a year, and the game picked up many awards in 2017. However, the battle royale shooter has a massive cheating problem that largely originates from China, and PUBG Steam owners are venting their frustration to Bluehole over the developer not region-locking the country.
Bluehole posted an update to Steam Thursday concerning the latest PUBG update and compensating players for an issue where Battleground Points (BP) were not given out properly in December. Steam users have flooded the post with more than 2,000 comments with the hashtag #RegionLockChina. Similarly, the PUBG Steam forum is flooded with posts demanding China be region-locked.
The PUBG developer has steadily ramped up anti-cheat measures in the game and added in-game features for players to report suspected cheaters. The anti-cheat service BattlEye reported at the end of 2017 it had banned 1.5 million PUBG cheaters alone, while creative director Brendan Greene told Kotaku in December that the number of cheaters in-game has been cut by 67 percent.
This has done little to mollify the PUBG community, however, when they see the overwhelming majority of cheaters come from a single nation. At the same time, a 41.4 percent share of the game’s sales in the last two weeks have come from China, according to Steam Spy. The United States is in second all the way back at 12.8 percent and “Other” is in third place at 8.4 percent.
The current sales dominance of China when it comes to PUBG understandably makes Greene gun-shy concerning enacting harsh measures against the country. Bluehole doesn’t want to implement anything that will adversely affect what is clearly its largest growth market.
“Yes, the majority of cheats come out of China, but that doesn’t mean all Chinese players are cheaters,” Greene told Kotaku. “This idea that just because you’ve got a few bad eggs, you’ve gotta ban a whole country is a bit reactive.”
“They love the game,” Greene said in defense of the Chinese PUBG players. “Why would we restrict them from playing on servers? I just don’t get the attitude of some people.”
Dealing with cheaters in games is a constant battle as bad actors will constantly find ways to circumvent anti-cheat measures put in place by game makers and anti-cheat services like BattlEye. Epic Games went so far as to file lawsuits against individuals promoting and selling Fortnite: Battle Royale hacks. How Greene and Bluehole deal with cheaters, especially those from China, will be something to watch in 2018.