Have you checked last month’s Steam Hardware Survey? If you did then you would notice something that wasn’t there before, a huge rise in players located in China. Chinese Steam users may now be more than half the total “population” on the platform and it’s all thanks to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which is now close to leaving Early Access.
Over the last month, there was a big rise in players who use Simplified Chinese, bringing the total number to 64.3% of the all Steam survey respondents. Just a year ago, English speakers where 44% of Steam’s population and Simplified Chinese held just 8.6%, which in another case would have made us wonder what caused this. In this case, though the answer is one: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
Even though Steam originally became popular in China when Perfect World brought Dota 2 and CS: GO to the east, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds made a big difference. According to SteamSpy, 78 percent of Steam users in China own PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds which is a huge number given the aforementioned statistics.
What’s “fishy” with those statistics though is the fact that simplified Chinese users may not be from China. Chinese is the most used language in the world so the statistics are showing a bigger amount of players than the ones actually stated in China. However, China has the most active user base by far according to SteamSpy: 19.48 percent of the world’s active Steam population for the past two weeks compared to the US’s 14.17 percent.
With Tencent buying PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds rights for China, it remains to be seen whether the game will remain on Steam or will be available through the WeGame platform. In a different case, when Tencent bought Rocket League for China it became a free-to-play title and was taken off sale on Steam. We highly doubt that this would be the case with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds too.
We are waiting to see how this whole PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds craze in China will hold up. Will the game change when Tencent takes control of it or will it continue being the same as we see it in the west?