Monster Hunter: World is racking up rave reviews across the web but, unfortunately for gamers in China, regulators have taken issue with the title and forced Tencent to stop selling it for PC. As of right now, the game is no longer available on WeGame, throwing a wrench in Tencent's plans to take on Steam in the digital distribution space.
Capcom developed the game and licensed it to Tencent for sale in China. Monster Hunter: World was supposed to be the featured title on WeGame, which Tencent recently retooled with hopes of competing with Steam. However, Chinese regulators forced Tencent to remove the game from WeGame, citing a "numerous" complaints.
It's not clear what those complaints are in reference to, or if there is something else at play here. China is known for its Internet censorship, and there is chatter that in-game violence might have played a role. Monster Hunter: World tasks players with hunting and killing various monsters, including dragons, to gain weapons and armor.
“Investors expect Tencent to develop and launch more games at a time when the company has not generated a profit from PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” Stevan Tam, a Hong Kong-based analyst with Fulbright Securities, told South China Morning post. “The gaming business is of concern for Tencent because games are the most vulnerable to policy tightening on online content.”
Monster Hunter: World has seen strong sales out of the gate. Capcom has sold over 8 million copies for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in just five months. It released to PC on WeGame amid much anticipation on August 8, a day before it became available on Steam.
Whether regulators are truly concerned with the game's violent content is not known. Financial Times reports that a person close to the WeGame said the removal has nothing to do with user complaints, and everything to do with China's new media regulator asserting its power.