The battle royale game formerly known as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will go free to play January 12. The move has been rumoured for a while, and publisher Krafton confirmed at The Game Awards that PUBG: Battlegrounds will indeed join the ranks of free-to-play battle royales.
PUBG: Battlegrounds ran a free week earlier this year in partnership with Kpop group Blackpink, and rumours at the time suggested the move was a trial for the developers to measure the impact the move to a free-to-play business model might have on the constantly evolving battle royale. Those seem to have been correct, as tonight’s Game Awards reveal confirms.
Krafton provided a couple quick factoids about PUBG during the reveal as well, such as the fact that players have spent a combined total of more than 14 billion hours in PUBG since it launched five years ago. In the past couple months, we’ve seen Baby Shark and mountain bikes make their way into the game.
When the free-to-play version of PUBG: Battlegrounds launches, Krafton will also introduce Battlegrounds Plus, a premium account upgrade, which includes 1,300 G-coin, a 100% boost to survival master experience point gain, ranked mode, access to custom matches, and a selection of in-game cosmetics.
For existing players who’ve already purchased a copy of PUBG: Battlegrounds, Battlegrounds Plus will be included in the PUBG Special Commemorative Pack they’ll receive for free. Current players will also receive a ‘battle-hardened’ costume skin set and legacy nameplate (to show they’ve been around since the olden times), and the Shackle and Shanks legacy frying pan.
The Game Awards is an annual extravaganza hosted by veteran presenter and game journalist Geoff Keighley. In theory, it’s an award show highlighting the best of the past year’s games, but the show generates its biggest excitement with an array of announcements for new games from developers both big and small. Stick with us for coverage of all the upcoming PC games announced at the event.