Loot boxes! More loot boxes! Locked loot boxes! Selling loot boxes! Cheating for loot boxes! This has been the story of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds for a few months since developer PUBG Corp (a division of Bluehole) has slowed down on making their flagship game better.
Mobile games and controversial real-money loot boxes (that can be traded for real-money value on Steam) have been the focus for PUBG as of late, leaving the door wide open for top competitor, free-to-play Fortnite to become the more popular game, both in player counts and in online streaming services.
Where Fortnite has significant updates on the content front, including fun new modes, seemingly every week, PUBG still barely runs on Xbox One and hasn't done anything of note on PC since launching out of early access. For this reason, in the last few weeks Fornite's popularity has skyrocketed while also earning mainstream buzz - positive buzz - something PUBG is starting to losing a little steam on for the first time in its young life.
That's okay for now since PUBG is one of the best-selling games ever and accomplished this in less than a year, and it is still one of the most popular games on the internet. But H1Z1 was in a similar spot a year ago and some slow development and bad decision-making saw it fall off the map. Even its recent launch out of early access and going free-to-play today cannot save H1Z1 so in response to all of this, Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene finally took to community to lay out plans for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in 2018 and it's about damn time.
In a very long post which didn't reveal much in terms of specifics, Greene unveiled the "PUBG 2018 Roadmap" which included hints of new modes, new vehicles, new weapons, and even emotes - something popular in Fortnite and other live-service games like Destiny.
PUBG Is Getting New Maps, Modes, Vehicles, and Weapons in 2018
Unfortunately, Greene wouldn't say anything regarding actual details, nor would he reveal any of the new weapons, potential modes or vehicles coming to the game. The update didn't talk about the Xbox version of the game or loot boxes either, but it did offer some examples of aesthetic changes coming to existing assets - improving the look and level of detail on buildings. The biggest reveal however (the only real reveal) is that of a smaller, 4x4km island map designed to offer players a quicker battle royale experience.
Content aside, the plan in 2018 is also to improve the shooter experience with adjustments to the sounds of vehicles, weapons, and movement - even changing the sound of breathing while performing or recovering from different actions. Animations, parachuting, and bullet penetration are also facets of PUBG being worked on for improvements.
Greene also discussed Esports again, something that's become a bit of a joke for PUBG during over its tournaments, and a source of frustration and they seem to understand that.
"Seriously, we are not there yet, but we will be."
Yet Esports tournaments seem to be a big focus (alongside loot boxes) while optimization and dealing with hackers has fallen by the wayside, at least in terms of perception by active players. It's why we stopped playing over the last two weeks (the hackers and awful in-game reward system).
Meanwhile, competitor Epic Games is touting more new modes, another new season of content and a mobile version of Fortnite which will support cross-play with PC and PS4 versions of the game. It's that rapid development, lack of loot box gambling, lack of hackers, and great communication with the community that's helping Fornite takeover PUBG.
Source: PUBG Corp