PlayerUnknown's Battegrounds was at the receiving end of a massive review bomb, as more than 15,000 players gave the game a negative review in the span of only a couple days.
The negative reviews are the product of the game advertising a Chinese VPN service appearing in the game's lobby, VG247 reports. However, the anger over this ad stems from older issues. As the outlet points out, Chinese players have repeatedly voiced frustrations with the game's server lag, leaving many to choose servers in other regions of the world with better connectivity. "What this does is cause more problems for players native to these places, compounding the problems further. Combat in Battlegrounds often favors players with higher ping, making cases where you run into one of them a nightmare," VG247 points out.
When Chinese players noticed an ad for a VPN service promising to amplify connections to international servers, they didn't take it lightly. As of writing, today alone, Battlegrounds has received more than 4,000 negative reviews. Many of these negative reviews appear to be coming from Chinese players (content and language warning at the link).
"The ad appears only if you connect from China, so it wouldn't be a problem for players elsewhere, but why did [developer-publisher] Bluehole even approved this? They are already charging full price for an early access game and now they put ads in it," one user said in their review.
The issue many players seem to be finding with this ad – aside from the fact the game has ads period – is Bluehole doesn't seem to be addressing the issues with Chinese server lag, rather it incentives using a service that will only make issues worse for other players by giving better access to international servers. We've reached out to Bluehole for comment and will update should we hear back.
Review bombing is a vocal – albeit not super effective – way for players to voice their frustrations with a game or, in other cases, a developer's ideologies. In a short span of time, players will take to Steam to leave a high amount of negative reviews, effectively lowering the game's overall user score – though Valve has pointed out this change is usually temporary. Valve recently pushed for better handling of review bombing by offering better statistics about when a game receives high rates of negative reviews in an attempt to be more transparent with potential players.