Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG as it is mostly known, helped kickstart the gaming trend that infected everything. Everybody, including small indie studios to major studios such as EA and Activision, has tried to get into the ‘Dropping players into a map with nothing, forcing them to grab items and try to be the last player standing’ business. While, as many will point out, PUBG did not invent this style of game, it cannot be understated how much it blew up because of it.
However, since it has released Battlegrounds has slowly lost market compared to the other games competing with it. Fortnite, which was released the same year as a completely different game, developed a mode similar and made it free. This caused Fortnite to explode in popularity, quickly overtaking PUBG in popularity. Later Respawn Entertainment released their battle royale game Apex Legends, which has also become hugely popular. This is all without going into Call of Duty: Warzone, also doing extremely well.
On the other hand, PUBG was a game developed with a small team. While it grew decently after release, it was quickly outpaced by far larger developers’ takes on Battle Royale. Recently the game has also experienced a large drop-off in players. So It might seem like it is a day late and a dollar short, but a new rumor suggests that Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is going free-to-play.
Disclaimer – This information has not been verified, therefore this is not factual.
If you have not been following the game it might shock you to learn the game still costs money to buy. While it goes on sale a lot and was free through PlayStation Plus, the game still usually costs $29.99. This is on top of the battle pass the game has that was adopted from the current trend for profiting. In most cases though, this battle pass is used by the game to make their core profit as entry to the game is made free.
PUBG wants to go free-to-play.
They’re going to track player responses in a F2P week that’s happening next month.
Keep in mind, PUBG originally wanted to go F2P in 2019; but didn’t get the player response they wanted att from 2019’s F2P test.
— PlayerIGN (@PlayerIGN) July 24, 2021
According to PlayerIGN, the biggest leaker and data miner for all things PUBG, the game will be having a free-to-play week next month where they will track player response and, if all goes well, make that the current model. He also notes that this plan was attempted in 2019, but due to player response then it was not done.
Here is the issue, by the point this was done other companies had already eaten into a market that at one time was owned completely by the game. Since this model works extremely well for Apex, Fornite, and Warzone there is no reason to think it would not work here. The longer the wait to make the switch however the more competition enters that space putting PUBG at a disadvantage.
In comparison, another rumor has suggested that Fifa 23 will go free-to-play. This is a direct response to their competition eFootball doing the same. While Fifa 22 is already built as a standard release the rumored switch seems like a quick reaction to not allow for too much market loss to their competition.
Hopefully, everything goes well for Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and they can make the switch. However, with strong competition already dominating that space it remains to be seen if the originator of the trend can find its footing.