Chinese players review bomb PUBG on Steam over in-game VPN ads

Remember a couple of weeks ago when Valve said it was continuing to seek ways to crack down on review bombing, the practice of sending a zerg of people to wreck a game’s review standing on Steam usually for reasons unrelated to the actual quality of the game? This right here is why. This is why we can’t have nice things.

The latest review bombing drama involves one of the most popular games in the world right now, the irritatingly named PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Apparently, Chinese players are really pissed off about an ad for a VPN service that’s begun appearing on the lobby screen of the game’s Chinese version. Chinese players are already frustrated with the bouts of lag they suffer, to the point that they feel forced to play on international servers just to participate, so an ad from a VPN company right inside the client – claiming it’s from “the only official accelerator of the game” – is a bit like adding insult to injury. That’s on top of the fact that there are freakin’ ads in a buy-to-play early access game.

As VG247 points out, Steam’s review metrics for the game show a fairly well reviewed title – right up until this weekend when it tanked with over 15000 negative reviews.

Source: Steam via VG247
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43 Comments on "Chinese players review bomb PUBG on Steam over in-game VPN ads"

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kgptzac

Y’all need to read the source. This “VPN” service is an “accelerator” service and doesn’t related to the general VPN usage, now illegal, that bypasses the GFW in China. It’s bullshit that FPS players with high pings are given advantage, and it’s even more bullshit to asking players to pay for accelerator services.

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Roger Christie

PUBG is an awful name. The name is PLUNKBAT!

Reader
MesaSage

.

drumlin.jpg
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socontrariwise

I didn’t know VPN were legal in China?

PS: No, they are illegal, I thought so. So people buy a software that than tries to get banned in the country while making more money – and risks getting people into prison? Unjustified? Not really …

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Ket Viliano

Go, Chinese, go!
Take no s**t from those smarmy cash shop grubbin devs!

Reader
Tiresias

Whatever. The game is making money hand over fist and the review bomb isn’t going to change that. It will also quickly fade into the background as the game continues to garner new reviews; Valve’s review algorithm shows both an “all time” and “recent” review score.

I’ll admit to being a bit perplexed by the whole thing. I pay for a movie ticket and I get ads and previews before the movie. I buy a video game and I get ads for microtransaction services; sometimes even ads for popular products are baked into the game on scenery and billboards. Maybe there was some violation of a taboo in Chinese culture, but I’m unfamiliar with it.

I keep reading about how toxic the gaming community can be — one misstep and they unleash the ravening hordes — every time I read something like this.

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Robert Mann

Well, it was for one advertising an illegal product in China where people who go against the state are rather harshly treated…

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Ket Viliano

“The fanbase is berserk.”
— direct quote from a City of Heroes content developer, a friend of mine, as we sat down to play D&D 3.0.

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donvweel

I noticed this when I was checking how it was stacking up aginst Fortnight. If I see this kind of metric reults can’t be taken seriously. Also a lot of posts with the same wierd complaints about being banned for killing streammers and also a bunch declaring “I am not chineese”

what-4
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what-4

I feel like this is a fairly legit reason to poorly review something.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

I didn’t realize that Chinese servers even existed.

So basically, Bluehole is advertising a VPN service that’s crappy?

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Robert Mann

An illegal VPN service which could well land people in China in jail. There’s been buzz about them possibly taking this out on citizenry using the services, since cracking down on providers isn’t stopping it.

Add to that the default service they are providing is very poor, and the VPN is the only solution they are offering…

hurbster
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hurbster

Most people on the web in China have to use VPN’s anyway to access foreign websites. So I can see their point.

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silverlock

I believe the phrase “Adding insult to injury” is appropriate. Good for them for sticking up for themselves in a way that the developer will notice.

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Heliton B. Amorim

Guess what? The Chinese players are right and Bluehole lost me as a customer. Not touching anything from them now on.

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HNN

This is only in the CN version where it’s published by a CN publisher…

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Heliton B. Amorim

Sure, like TRION is responsible for all the problems in Archeage NA/EU, XLGames has nothing to do with it.

Hmmm… No.

Developers and publishers must be blamed.

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HNN

Well devs pretty much have to do what the publisher’s say in CN since the gov have some weird law that prevents non-CN publishers from publishing. In NA there’s no ads

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Robert Mann

True, but China would hammer a publisher who was pushing a VPN, so there’s problems with this point.

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Heliton B. Amorim

Hmm, guess you’re right in this regard.

Anyway, I think Chinese players are right and I’m not touching anything from Bluehole after Fortnite drama, especially knowing how TERA was made.

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Bruno Brito

What’s the issue with TERA?

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Robert Mann

No, this is a completely justified bit of outrage. Review bombing requires people to be upset about something other than the game, this is a game issue.

Now, if Steam wants to segment the reviews by area for developers, since not all localizations are equal (true for far more games than Pubg) then… well, the system is already all jacked.

If they are serious about this, get rid of the .4 hour 11/10 LULZ reviews and stuff too…

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Yuri Geinish

I thought the term bombing implied unjust rating? This sounds justified.

quark1020
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quark1020

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an unjustified review bomb, or at least one to have garnered enough notice to be reported on (granted, my gaming news mainly come from massively). However, most of the time, its due to legitimate reasons: rude devs/mods, sudden changes in modding policies, crappy or sudden integration of micro-transactions.

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Robert Mann

^. Seems like a way for developers to say “Hey, it’s people trying to harm us! Don’t pay any attention to the shady practices behind the curtain over there!”

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zeko_rena

They are always so entertaining those Chinese.

I have to put up with a lot of there fucking adverts in all my favorite MMO where they are trying to sell me in game currency in broken English.

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Melissa McDonald

is that the GOLDGOLDGOLDGOLD company? I see those too

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Daniel Miller

They could always pay for a vpn and have no ads. No money, suffer the ad.

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Bruno Brito

And then they risk going to jail because the company can’t offer a good service?

What the hell, dude.

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Robert Mann

Oh, so you are suggesting they break the law to deal with a problem that is the developer’s fault? China may be notorious for breaking the law, but that’s only if it isn’t THEIR law.

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Patreon Donor
Yuri Geinish

Didn’t they pay for the game?

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Patreon Donor
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agemyth 😩

It still has better positive review percentage than King of the Kill and both games are still extremely popular and selling just fine.

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Melissa McDonald

For some reason I am reminded of that old movie “History of the World Part 1” where it shows a guy making cave art – “the first artist” – and it giving rise to “the first critic” – a fellow caveman who decides to urinate on his cave art.

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Jacquotte Fox Kline

“Nice things” as in a horrible server connection, and then in-game advertising for additional paid services to improve the connection? That’s just ridiculous, on top of in-game advertising in the first place. It’s nice to see players fighting back against the endlessly increasing B.S. from game makers.

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Carlo Rossi

Since I assume that VPN in China are banned, are you sure that the negative reviews come from players and not from the government?

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Yuri Geinish

Chinese government … review bombing a game because it advertises VPN … man … do you think those people have nothing better to do? In case you haven’t noticed, they’re busy building amazing infrastructure, space rockets and satellites, most of the things you actually use, turning desert into farmable land and whatnot. Do you actually think the government cares for some stupid game and its ads? Gimme a break. CNN is bad for IQ.

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Robert Mann

Well, you are partially correct. China would just hit the publisher and VPN sellers and cart them off to jail. Which… yes, they actually do that in China.

plannick
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plannick

if you are referring to the penny posters (paraphrasing the actual term), who knows. but chances are the gov would just sling the game onto the great firewall blacklist directly if they were to do anything.
reading some of the reviews, it’s not just the ads, but that coupled with crap server, alongside other issues

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Jeremy Barnes

VPNs are banned in China. Interesting choice to advertise, that’s likely to get them in trouble with the Chinese government. Apple, for instance, rolled over and presented their bum to the Chinese government when they capitulated to the demand to remove VPNs from the app store.

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Melissa McDonald

all the tech companies roll over for China. Despite the fact that the gov’t there does nothing about all the fake/clone/product ripoffs of American-designed technology. There were even fake Apple stores, that looked enough like the ones here that nearly anyone could be fooled.

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Robert Mann

That’s because it’s a massive market where they still make a huge profit. They refuse to cut off their leg over a sprained ankle. Can’t blame them, although the fact that the international community hasn’t done anything is… oh, wait, yep, China’s on the security council. Just like Russia. DERP.

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Patreon Donor
Yuri Geinish

Why don’t you insult more countries while talking about Steam.

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Robert Mann

Well, fine. Spain and the EU are currently having problems with violating their own signatures on human rights. The U.S. does stupid shady things playing around with foreign governments. The middle east still treats women and LGBT people like it’s the 7th century. So on and so forth. If the nations named have a problem with it… then they can change that by having some integrity.

But no, the issue in this comment being about tech companies and why they cannot pursue action against China… noting their actions and position in that regard, and the Russian support, is on topic. Thanks. Why don’t you misdirect to something else now?

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