PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has seen an incredible influx of negative reviews on Steam lately, due in large part to the game displaying an in-game ad for a virtual private network service on the menu screen for Chinese players.
From September 29th to October 2nd, Battlegrounds earned over 21,000 negative reviews on Steam. Compare that to the roughly 2,500 negative reviews the game received the week before, and it becomes clear that a full-on review bomb is taking place.
To give a little background, the lack of reliable Chinese servers has historically plagued Battlegrounds‘ reputation, not only because many of the game’s Chinese player-base constantly complain about encountering a ton of lag, but also because the influx of Chinese players joining European and North American servers in search for a better connection creates even more lag for players in their own regions.
One of the solutions that Chinese players have taken to adopting is to rent a virtual private network (VPN) to combat Battlegrounds‘ unreliable servers. However, these VPN services are obviously not free, and many Chinese players feel justifiably annoyed at having to pay extra money for a service that they feel the game should provide.
This all came to a head when Chinese players began noticing an advertisement on Battlegrounds‘ menu screen for a company that provides an “accelerator” VPN that promises to give Chinese players a better connection to servers in other regions, like Europe and North America.
This annoyed Chinese players for a couple reasons, the most obvious being that an in-game ad appeared unannounced in a game they already paid for. Battlegrounds is not a free-to-play game, and games with retail prices aren’t usually known for having in-game ads.
But the ad was annoying on a deeper level, as the fact that developer Bluehole would sell an ad to a VPN provider instead of simply optimizing their servers seemed like an insult to many Chinese players on Steam.
To be fair, Chinese players upset at the introduction of in-game advertisements aren’t the only reason that Battlegrounds has recently received such an influx of negative reviews. Many players who wrote recent negative reviews on Steam are also reporting about major server issues, like not being able to connect to games, which seemed to start after Battlegrounds‘ most recent update went live.
Battlegrounds is the most recent high-profile game to get review-bombed partly due to factors that do not affect the game itself. Steam recently introduced new charts that are meant to highlight periods when a large number of negative reviews are being logged, thus ideally leading players to find out why and determine if the cause behind the negative reviews are because of the game itself or because of outside sources.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is currently available as an early access title for PC, with an Xbox One version scheduled to launch later this year.
Source: VG 24/7