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PUBG's switch to free-to-play massively boosts concurrent player numbers

Published: 08:53, 26 January 2022

PUBG: Battlegrounds was the top-ranked game on Steam during its transition to free-to-play on January 12, 2022. 

PUBG was the world's most popular shooter when it was first released back in 2017 but sadly, over the years the game's popularity declined as Fortnite and Call of Duty Warzone took the spotlight. Despite this, PUBG still attracts millions of players and with its recent switch to a free-to-play model, Krafton are looking to introduce the game to an even wider player base.

Looking at the player count numbers on Steam, it's clear that PUBG certainly managed to achieve that. PUBG was the top-ranked game on Steam during its transition to free to play on Jan. 12, 2022. The milestone was reached with more than 690,000 total active players dropping into the Battlegrounds.

PUBG only managed to achieve similar growth rates when it was first released back in 2017. In the week following the F2P transition, the game saw a 486 per cent increase in new players, outpacing its 2017 player growth rate. The biggest growth has been recorded in Southeast Asia, South America and CIS with a massive 537 per cent increase in new user numbers. 

Krafton PUBG screenshot showing combat on volcano map PUBG

Additionally, the game has seen significant increases in average playtime when compared to the week prior to F2P, with average playtime on PC and consoles increased by 100% week-over-week while PlayStation players recorded a 400% increase in playtime. 

To celebrate these numbers and the F2P launch, Krafton will be hosting a “Check-In Dinner Event” to reward its most active players. Any player that plays the game for at least an hour between 4 p.m. PST on Jan. 27 and 3:59 p.m. PST on Jan. 30 will receive special rewards for each day they "check-in."

On top of that, players who check into the game at least three times now through 3:59 p.m. PST on Feb. 17 can also earn exclusive Orbital Vanguard skins. Each week will offer a unique colour variation fans can earn (Cadet Green, Cadet Pink, Cadet Yellow and Cadet Blue) of the Orbital Vanguard skin. Those who collect all variations will receive a bonus fifth colour variation - Cadet Red.

For more details about the event, check out  the official announcement. 

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