PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the most recent victim of a review bomb on Steam, which means that a lot of people left a large number of negative reviews over a short period of time. This review bomb has accrued over 15,000 negative reviews for PUBG in one day, as reported by VG247.
The reason for the sudden onslaught of damaging reviews is a VPN service in-game ad many Chinese players have reported seeing in the PUBG lobby. The ad itself isn’t necessarily the issue, though. The issue stems from past reports of experiences with lag by Chinese players in the Asian servers. The lag caused players to connect to other region’s servers, but that only brought lag to those servers too. Coincidentally, the in-game ad claims to boost connection to international servers, which seems targeted and comes off pretty slimy.
Bluehole has not yet commented on the in-game ad complaints. Players expect ads in free-to-play games, but PUBG costs $30 and has so far only displayed sponsored content during a Gamescom invitational tournament, when developers included the logo of its sponsor, ESL. Tags for ESL were also shown on buildings in-game during the event.
You can see the sudden wave of damaging responses in this Steam review chart. Steam’s recently implemented histogram feature sets out to identify and display these review bombs by showing a breakdown of a game’s negative and positive feedback. It does not remove the flagged influx of negative reviews but attempts to show potential buyers the distortion in feedback and allow them to investigate the reason for the review bomb for themselves.
We’re crossing our fingers that other regions will not start seeing in-game ads in PUBG, but this report does not bode well. We will keep you updated when Bluehole responds.