Inside the PUBG-fueled rise of 'chicken eating games' in China
"Do you know how to say 'winner winner, chicken dinner' in Chinese? Thanks to the multiplayer game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), the answer now blankets the Chinese internet: 大吉大利，今晚吃鸡 ('Luck be with you, tonight we are eating chicken.')"
- Excerpt from the second issue of Magpie Digest, the weekly newsletter of new China-focused outlet Magpie Kingdom.
By now most developers know about the success of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, especially in China, where it's unofficially playable on Steam.
What devs outside China might not appreciate is how quickly hacking and cloning industries seem to have sprung up around PUBG, even as the dev team works with Chinese publishing partner Tencent to "officially" bring the game to China on both PC and mobile.
The latest issue of the new China-focused Magpie Kingdom newsletter (launched earlier this month by experts Christina Xu, Pheona Chen, and Tricia Wang) focuses specifically on these issues, and it makes for interesting reading if you're at all curious about what Chinese fans are saying about the game.
For example, the Magpie team claims there's now a whole genre of "chicken eating games" operating in China, especially on mobile. They also claim to have found and translated an answer to a question about "why Chinese hacks are so powerful" on Chinese Q&A website Zhihu which suggests games that launch in the region face hackers who work as a holistic industry, rather than alone or in small groups.
"Compared to other countries' hackers who work in small teams, Chinese hackers have actually developed a highly efficient industry—there are specific groups of people for every step, including researching, developing, testing, and selling the hacks," reads the translated post. "Whenever a popular game is updated, these developers can guarantee an updated hack is released within six hours."
Elsewhere, the Magpie team states that (based on studying posts from Chinese users) that PUBG hacks in China can cost anywhere from $6/day to $900/month USD, and the more costly ones are capable of allowing hacked play while also feeding "clean" (apparently non-hacked) gameplay footage to a livestream.
You can find more details (and some pretty choice GIFs) regarding where PUBG is at in China in the latest issue (#2) of Magpie Digest, which aims to provide a weekly English-language look at modern China.