The most stunning part about the success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is that it’s not even out yet. The 100-player survival shooter is smashing the records of nearly every PC game on the market, yet it’s still an Early Access game undergoing active development. That means the goals are constantly shifting, and that success has opened new avenues for the game’s evolution.
Check out all the survival tips in our PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds guide.
One thing Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene might regret promising is that there would be no microtransactions until the game was out of Early Access. The recent addition of cosmetics unlocked by a paid crate-and-key system led to a stir prompting a backlash of negative reviews on Steam. Greene tells GamesIndustry.biz that he and his team “got hit hard,” adding to his assertion that microtransactions would wait until the final release “comes from my naivety.” He says: “we're still not adding any kind of skin system with microtransactions fully until we leave Early Access, but we do need to test it, and we need to test percentages.”
Greene isn’t letting those reviews get him down, though, saying that it’s a small percentage of players with a mob mentality. “And look,” he adds, “people have a right to say what they want, y'know, but with some reviews I feel bad because it'll say something like 'Performance is shitty', but when we improve it they won't go back and change that review.”
Bluehole’s partnership with Microsoft is paying dividends for both versions of the game, however. Microsoft are helping with their anti-cheat systems, and since they’re largely handling the Xbox port, it leaves Bluehole free to focus on developing the PC version.
There’s a fringe benefit, too. Greene mentioned meeting the Sea of Thieves team at Rare, which led to discussions of adding that game’s water tech to Battlegrounds, thanks to being part of a network of studios. “We can get that water tech, essentially for free, and we can share stuff with them. That's just invaluable, because their water is great.”
In fairness, it is good water. Battlegrounds continues its path toward domination every day, and the partnership with Microsoft will certainly speed the process along.