The developers behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds detailed a new update and admitted to players that they have dropped the ball over the past year. In posts on both the Steam Community forum and subreddit for the game, PUBG’s developers addressed a number of issues, including concerns regarding loot boxes and continued flow of randomized cosmetics being a priority for the studio.
Over the past year or so, it's become clear that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has been a huge influence on gaming in general, with its 100-player Battle Royale mechanic leading to games like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Battle Royale modes. With the recent release of PUBG's mobile version, the title is even managing to keep some semblance of pace with Fortnite, which eventually blasted past it in terms of Twitch presence on a platform formerly dominated by PUBG's biggest streamers - but they are looking to change that going forward.
The latest developer letter on Steam is focused on the game's optimizations as well as its new map Sanhok (formerly known under its code name “Savage"), which will include new vehicles and even an exclusive weapon. Free updates are all well and good, but the studio's communications lead PUBG_Riggles took to Reddit to speak about PUBG's loot boxes. People don't want them, PUBG has them, and they’ve been a persistent focus for the game’s development while optimization issues, cheaters, and other nasty bits of business have seemingly warranted more attention than they’ve received. This has not gone unnoticed by the game’s massive community, which boasts over 600,000 subscribers to the official subreddit.
PUBG_Riggles gets to the heart of the matter, even admitting that the constant faucet of new crates and cosmetics releasing while game-breaking bugs remain unattended to is a terrible look. It sounds like PUBG Corp. is indeed building out its development team to tend to these pressing matters, but he also insists that the crates aren’t going anywhere, as they remain central to the continued monetization of the game. While this might not be what many players want to hear, the honesty coming from PUBG Corp. is, at least, somewhat refreshing.
However, the facts remain: Fortnite is here, free-to-play, and, unlike its Battle Royale inspiration, doesn’t include any “gambling” for skins. PUBG, on the other hand, features randomized crates earned through regular play, with premium crates unlockable by keys. Those keys need to be purchased with real money, which leaves players unwilling to buy them, which leaves the option of either keeping unopened crates inert in their inventory or selling them on the Steam marketplace. These mechanics foster an elaborate economy, generating a system which fuels continued income to the game. On the other hand, it also creates undue frustration for many of its players, all of whom have already spent money to purchase the game in the first place and feel put off by microtransactions.
With Fortnite eschewing loot boxes entirely in its Battle Royale mode (although individual seasons offer their own unique cosmetics, similar to Overwatch), it’s already ahead of the curve. Perhaps by the time Sanhok arrives, the wait for for a more stable game will seem like it was worth it. However, with a never-ending stream of cosmetics and constant reminders for microtransactions blemishing player inventory, all while many of them experience blatant performance issues, PUBG Corp. should keep running — that blue wall might be closer than it looks.