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The Power of Games to Change the World

Hi. I’m Vincent Wang, general manager of global publishing and global esports for Tencent Games, and I’m pleased to share some thoughts and ideas with you about a game that has literally changed the face of gaming since its 2018 launch.

But first, I want you to consider the power of large numbers. Some of them you might know. Some might be surprising.

For example, the Earth’s population is about 7.8 billion people. Remember that number.

The global games sector is massive. It’s larger than the movie and music industries combined. Depending on how you count it, it was valued at about $200 billion in 2020. It’s expected to be close to $550 billion by 2028.

While you hear a lot about console and PC gaming – and for good reason, because developers produce some amazing triple-A games – did you know that both saw their market share slide last year, while mobile gaming’s share rose over 7%. The mobile gaming market now accounts for somewhere between 52% and 57% of the total global gaming market – depending on how you’re counting.

Let’s dig into that mobile game market. Here’s another number: 90 billion, as in revenue in dollars for mobile games in 2021. More? How about 83 billion? That’s the number of mobile game downloads last year, according to App Annie.

And 1 billion. That’s the number of cumulative downloads of one single game, PUBG MOBILE since its launch in 2018. That’s about one out of every eight people in the world. That makes it one of the most-successful mobile games in the world and gives it one of the world’s largest audiences. It’s also one of the world’s most-watched mobile esports games on the planet.

For those who don’t come from this planet, let me tell you what PUBG MOBILE is. It’s what we call a “Battle Royale” game, based off of KRAFTON’s world-renown PC game, PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS. Using your Android or iPhone, up to 100 players parachute onto a remote island to battle in a winner-take-all showdown. Players have to find or scavenge their own weapons, vehicles and supplies. And you have to defeat every other player in pretty visually and tactically rich battleground that keeps shrinking as the game progresses.

I hope you’re convinced by the numbers that the global mobile games market is huge. And that PUBG MOBILE is a giant in that global market.

I want to quickly walk you through why PUBG MOBILE has become such a juggernaut, because it ties directly into Tencent’s mission of “value for users, tech for good” and our vision for mobile gaming. You see, PUBG MOBILE is the “great equalizer” because it’s 100% free to download and play. Yes, we offer in-game micro-purchases. That’s because we want players to pay only a small and reasonable amount for virtual items they want to enhance their own experience. As it turns out, interestingly, the bulk of revenue generated by these purchases come from about 0.1% of PUBG MOBILE players. So, the beauty is that you can play PUBG MOBILE forever without spending a penny, lowering the entry barrier for new gamers to zero. This democratization of gaming has been well-received in parts of the world where a $1,500 PC, a $600 console or a $60 game are out of reach for many. And this inclusiveness also makes the world smaller in a way not previously possible. Today, anyone with a halfway-decent smartphone and reasonable connectivity can download and play PUBG MOBILE, participating in Battle Royale Tournament, meeting and teaming up with and communicating with people from all around the world.

Our efforts at inclusiveness don’t end at free-to-play. Did you know that color blindness affects about one in 12 men and 1 in 200 women – and that there are over 300 million people in the world who are color blind? To make that a non-factor, or at least less of a factor, we’ve made a Color Blind Mode for PUBG MOBILE, responding to community requests on Reddit. Graphics settings offer several color palette variations that accommodate the most-common types of color-vision deficiencies.

We don’t just count our daily active users as part of the PUBG MOBILE community, because it’s not only among the most-popular mobile games played in the world. It’s also one of the world’s most-played and most-watched mobile games in the esports sector.

On the viewer side of things, during any serious tournament, watchers online number regularly between two and six million, depending on timing and location.

On the player side, PUBG MOBILE is a competitive esports in 170 countries, with approximately 150,000 teams playing the game in competition around the world.

And thanks to the efforts of our own esports teams and enthusiasts around the world, participation in PUBG MOBILE leagues has blossomed. We’re now at a point where pretty much any player, from amateur to semi-pro to professional esports players can find a team or league at their own competition level in their country or region.

And that’s where things get interesting. Because as player and viewer numbers surge, and numbers of teams, leagues and tournaments grow, opportunities arise for top players to make a career out of their passion as professional esports athletes. And while many will never quite make that cut, a white paper we produced last year with esports analytics company Newzoo forecasts a raft of new job and career opportunities will arise. To use Southeast Asia as an example, the creation of entirely new job categories could let gamers turn their passion into a viable career as event organizers, content creators, social media influencers, team managers or coaches. Larger esports organizations are also expected to build out their back offices to support essential business operations, including finance and marketing.

But the true power of PUBG MOBILE’s large numbers is in the size of its addressable audience and how we choose to address it. We know that nearly one out of every eight people on this earth has downloaded PUBG MOBILE. And we know that we can address our audience about 50 million daily average users at a time, along with millions more who follow our social media accounts and participate in forums and online groups.

It would be easy and tempting to use our platform to flood gamers with EDMs about what they could buy in-game. But that’s not how Tencent rolls. Instead, we use the platform to educate and inform, to promote good causes and to act in concert with our players to make the world better.

To make that more concrete, PUBG MOBILE is, at its most-basic level, the ultimate platform for public service announcements and important initiatives around the world. For example, in the midst of the pandemic, we worked with the World Health Organization on the game industry’s Play Apart Together initiative. That encouraged players to follow the WHO’s health guidelines, including physical distancing.

We know a community has formed around PUBG MOBILE, because this is a game that requires tightly knit cooperation and collaboration and fosters teamwork. But we were amazed to see just how committed that community was during our “Play As One” campaign. That raised $1.85 million in donation to support the Direct Relief foundation, which protected healthcare workers during the pandemic.

We’ve also reached out to the PUBG MOBILE community for important environmental initiatives, like 2019’s “Fight4Amazon.” We teamed up with Global Green in a campaign that saw 150,000 trees planted in teh Amazon rain forest and helped rebuilt underserved communities and ecosystems around the world. The initiative gave them renewable energy, clean drinking water and climate-rescue hubs in the event of a climate-change disaster. And in 2020, we collaborated with Global Green once again, along with singer Jason Derulo. His social media following of 50 million fans essentially doubled our outreach for a promotional video on environmental protection.

And now, let’s get to some of the “sticky stuff” about games and PUBG MOBILE, in particular. Yes, it is a shooting game. And, as with any game that features weapons, there comes a responsibility from the company behind it to ensure only age-appropriate players can access the game. And in general, for all video games, that they’re played safely and as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Let’s remember and keep reminding everyone that it’s just a game.

We’ve put our technical prowess and resources where our mouths are to promote healthy gaming around the world. A year after PUBG MOBILE hit the market, we implemented our Game Management system in 20 countries. It sends gaming advisory notices when minors open the app – notices that must be acknowledged. It also sends pop-ups. That’s to remind them to rest or stop playing after a certain amount of time.

We are both sensitive and alert to concerns parents have about their children’s exposure to all games, not just PUBG MOBILE, and we believe that the size and scale of the PUBGM ecosystem means we have to set an example for the entire industry about healthy gaming and lifestyle.

Gameplaying now surpasses the consumption of what we consider “traditional” entertainment, with the free-to-play model ensuring its popularity will continue to grow. After 40 years of development, you can’t simply write them off or call them evil and ban them outright without causing more harm than good. Just as we take seriously concerns parents and authorities may have about the effects of gaming on the mental and physical health of their children, we are keenly aware of several studies that say the exact opposite. And as with everything, moderation and awareness are key.

Games, particularly mobile games, have also become part of the digital lifeline of Young Millennials. The size and scale of individual games, studios and the entire sector creates so many jobs, throws off so much revenue and income for those involved that the best approach is to focus on developing the positives, while mitigating the negatives.

As a game publisher, we think it’s incumbent upon us to work with authorities, other industry participants, parents and schools to educate to ensure the well-being of the young generation. The technological advances that have come from video games, what we call “gametech” has too much value to be kicked to the curb.

And as the global publisher of PUBG MOBILE, we also believe that games unify, rather than divide. In our rapidly polarizing world, games promote inclusiveness and participation. They can create a safe environment in which players from all backgrounds, races, creeds, genders or colors, can come together, team up, collaborate and compete in a safe space.

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