It doesn’t take a virtuous to realize that the Steam page for Tank Battlegrounds, a “first-person shooting game set in World War II,” is in reality just Battlefield 1942. The trailer is precisely same as Battlefield 1942’s trailer, however, clumsily stopped so you don’t see the logo, the screenshots are the same, and even the game’s description erroneously refers to itself as Battlefield 1942 rather than Tank Battlegrounds. It’s clear that somebody is trying to utilize Battlefield 1942 to sell a false game. But why this sort of thing is even on Steam in the first place?
First found earlier today by certain sleuths over on the Steam subreddit, Tank Battlegrounds sprung up on the Steam store three days prior and is expected to release on May 30. It’s supposedly developed by a Chinese studio that passed by “自由合伙人”, which freely translates to Free Partner. Tank Battlegrounds is Free Partner’s just game, and one of the developers, who posted a couple of threads in Tank Battleground’s Steam Forums, has no Steam movement regardless of being a year old.
What’s funny is the manner by which blatantly Tank Battlegrounds rips off Battlefield 1942. “In order to win, Battlefield 1942 gives more consideration to teamwork,” reads Tank Battlegrounds’ description—making it resemble the developer simply copied and pasted a description of Battlefield 1942 yet forgot to alter out the name.
It’s not by any means whether Tank Battlegrounds is really a game. A reverse image search of all the screenshots inquiry that they were at any rate taken by the developer and not pulled from somewhere online. Yet either Tank Battlegrounds is an ideal imitation or this developer is wanting to actually try and sell Battlefield 1942 (maybe with a modded title screen?).
But that Tank battleground can have a Steam page in the first place is disturbing. Last year, Valve started a conversation when it chose to take a hands-off strategy to the steam store, permitting anything (incorporating pornographic content) except it was illegal or “trolling.” By promoting using Battlefield 1942’s screenshots and trailers, Tank Battlegrounds is, of course, illegal, however, it’s not clear how it had the option to get on Steam or what theoretical purchasers will be buying and downloading come May 30 when it releases.
I’ve connected with Valve to ask if there is any human oversight given to new games before they are given a Steam page, however, it did not react in time to publish this story. I will update in the event that I hear back.
Despite the fact that Steam’s hands-off policy implies that just about anyone could make a phony Steam page like this one, China has a historical reputation for videogame thumps off and piracy, so it’s not too astounding that Tank Battlegrounds has all earmarks to be made by a Chinese developer. With Steam turning a critical marketplace for Chinese gamers hoping to skirt their nation’s complicated and severe oversight laws, it just bodes well that some of the shadier parts of China’s enormous videogame industry would discover their way to Steam too.
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In spite of the fact that this is the first time I’ve seen such an improper knock-off on Steam, there’s a developing problem with how companies like Valve are shielding legitimate game developers from knock-offs, clones, and stolen licensed property. Just a week ago, the developers of mobile game Clicker Heroes were delisted from the Apple store after a Chinese company replicated their game, filed a trademark for it and documented a DMCA against Clicker Heroes.