Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds faces review bombing from Chinese audience

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds faces review bombing from Chinese audience

Battle royale blockbuster Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is the latest high-profile project on Steam to be subject to ‘review bombing’.

This appears to be the result of unhappy Chinese players, who are angered by advertising appearing within the game. Ads for a Chinese virtual private network (VPN) service are present on the game’s home screen.

Sponsored content has appeared on PUBG’s menu screen before; for example, the logo of Gamescom invitational tournament broadcast sponsor ESL was splashed across the game’s menu during the competition.

Review bombing has become a way for players to voice their dissatisfaction with a developer more often than the game they made. Recently Firewatch maker Campo Santo faced this due to its decision to issue a DMCA strike against YouTube star/pariah PewDiePie following his use of a racial slur (incidentally, during a PUBG stream).

Since this took place, Valve has introduced a ‘solution’ to review bombs; a graph (below) that shows the number of positive and negative reviews over time.

Intended as providing more information to the player, in reality, this just means you can spot the exact moment gamers decided to tank a project’s review rating out of childish spite.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.