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PUBG hit by over 20k negative reviews following in-game ads and server lag


Just over a week ago, following the PewDiePie and Firewatch debacle, Valve implemented a new review system for Steam that highlights things like a sudden burst of negative user reviews for a game. Effectively it's a system to prevent review bombing - but sometimes, like in the recent case with PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, it signals a very clear and much-needed message to the distributor and developer.

Over the past few hours PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds received over 22 000 negative Steam user reviews. Most of these are because of:

  • Extreme server lag for those connecting from China
  • Server lag followed the release of in-game ads

Looking at PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Facebook page, and the decline of the negative reviews, then the issues have all been resolved. "We are aware of server connection issues. Our engineering team is working on a fix," followed only a few hours later by "Thank you for your patience! Server connection issues have now been resolved. Sorry for the inconvenience!"

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds developer, Bluehole, will have to deal with the irk from their Chinese player base. The in-game ad issue is only the latest incident troubling the community. Like the players from South Africa who have to accept serious in-game lag to play the game, the Chinese players seem to connect with a 200+ ping to play PUBG. They use an in-game VPN service to compensate for the lag, but it seems to have made the issues worse.

Reading through the Steam reviews, one Chinese player nails the issue particularly well.

"As a Chinese player who speaks for the largest player group of this game, I must tell you guys a fact about how Bluehole handled server issue. Because there is no Chinese server and playing in any server like NA or AS will give players a lag over 200ms, nearly every single player in China needs to spend considerable extra cash compared to the price of the game monthly to purchase access of a net proxy to get rid of the lag," explains one Euphonium. "Usually 4 months membership fee of a decent proxy costs the same money to buy a PUBG. But instead of trying to solve that problem for the region that has the most players in the world, Bluehole just made partnership with the most popular proxy company in China and claimed it to be the official proxy for PUBG. And that is absolutely ludicrous! There is not a second region in this world that needs to pay extra money beside the cost of the game itself to play, not to mention that cost is paid monthly. The developer is not only not trying to make that extra spending go away but also making new partners to rip players off more. As a player I found that very very insulting and Chinese players are treated very unfairly."

If there's one thing that will ensure the downfall of an online first-person shooter game, then it's massive server lag. Considering the money Bluehole is making of this as yet, unfinished game, I hope they consider rolling out more servers and never fall for the lure of in-game advertising again.

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