PUBG Mobile is no Fortnite, but nothing really is. Still, Tencent’s smartphone adaptation of the popular battle royale has surpassed more than $100 million in revenue, according to app-tracking firm Sensor Tower. That’s a big milestone, and PUBG Mobile was able to reach it in under 200 days. That shows just how popular the last player-standing shooter genre is.
But while $100 million for a new mobile game is a huge accomplishment, Tencent is likely frustrated that it didn’t reach this point faster.
“PUBG Mobile’s road to $100 million was longer than other mobile titles in the battle royale genre,” Sensor Tower analyst Adam Spannbauer wrote in a blog post. “Both Fortnite from Epic Games and Knives Out from NetEase were able to reach this milestone in fewer days. In the case of Fortnite, it was more than twice as fast—and ended up grossing $300 million in 200 days. It’s also worth noting that Fortnite’s numbers for that period are based solely off of income from the App Store.”
Chinese regulations hold PUBG Mobile back
So is PUBG Mobile not as popular as Fortnite or … Knives Out? Well, it probably doesn’t match Fortnite in terms of popularity, but PUBG Mobile’s revenues are slower because of China. Tencent launched the game after China froze all new-game licenses in that country. That means the publisher can launch and operate the game in that region, but it cannot offer any in-game spending options. And that hurts, because PUBG Mobile is huge in Tencent’s home country.
“Despite not contributing financially, China boasts the game’s largest player base,” reads Spannbauer’s blog. “The country is responsible for approximately 33 percent of PUBG Mobile’s more than 225 million downloads to date on Apple and Google’s store.”
The U.S. and India are the next biggest download markets for PUBG Mobile. The U.S. makes up 11 percent of its total, and India represents 8 percent. In terms of revenues, the U.S. makes up about a quarter of the total with $24.3 million. So with China having three times as many players, you can see the revenue potential that Tencent is leaving on the table.
And China still has no concrete timeline for when it’ll begin approving game licenses once again. It stopped to restructure its regulatory agencies, and one of the new ministries that oversees gaming is still without a director.