Tencent’s PUBG rebrand is world’s top-grossing mobile battle royale title

Two months have passed since Tencent rebranded China’s version of “PUBG Mobile” as “Game for Peace,” and the mobile battle royale game has swiftly become the highest-grossing title in the genre, bringing in $860 million as of July, according to a report from analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Why it matters: Tencent still leads the market for this type of game despite intense competition from arch-rival NetEase with its “Knives Out” title and global sensation “Fortnite” from US developer Epic Games.

  • Total revenue from “PUBG Mobile” and “Game for Peace” combined is five times greater than those of the two closest competitors.

Details: Player spending on “PUBG Mobile,” which includes that of “Game for Peace,” surged 748% annually to $167 million in July, making it the top-grossing mobile title globally for a third consecutive month.

  • “Game for Peace” has brought in a total of $241 million in player spending in the last 60 days, accounting for more than one-quarter of total revenue since it launched in February 2018. The figures do not include spending from third-party Chinese Android stores.
  • In the US market, “PUBG Mobile” also posted a 565% year-over-year surge in revenue last month to $32 million.
  • Epic Games’ “Fortnite” and NetEase’s “Knives Out” have grossed $725 million and $771 million since launch, respectively.
  • The strong performance has helped Tencent become the top-grossing publisher as of July, raking in more than $679 million from in-app purchases, 39% higher year-on-year.

Context: Tencent had been unable to monetize “PUBG Mobile” in China for more than a year due to a freeze on approvals from China’s game regulator, the State Administration of Press and Publication (SAPP).

  • The company relaunched the game as “Game for Peace” in May, preserving the core gameplay but adding a more patriotic flavor.
  • “Game for Peace” grossed more than $14 million in its first 72 hours on Apple’s China App Store.