The addition of a lootbox style cosmetics delivery system to PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has caused a bit of an uproar within the games growing community. The game's creator has named long-time viability as the chief reason for the feature that isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Steam user reviews of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds are shifting in tone right now because of Bluehole Studio's decision to add microtransaction cosmetics to the game, delivered by way of the much beloved lootbox system.This move by the studio is causing a lot of thumbs to go down with players, because the project lead Brendan PlayerUnknown Greene had promised that there would be no micotransaction scheme added to the game until after it leaves Early Access.
"I do understand your concerns about the system, but I feel testing for a sturdy economy on the Steam Marketplace is necessary at this stage and ultimately beneficial for the game. And once again, this is a purely optional system, and you are not forced into participating if you do not feel like it", was part of Greene's reply to customers and fans of the game. You can read the full post here, but a lot of it boils down to what we've got here is a failure to communicate.
While Greene is trying to calm the situation down, saying it's all just an optional test, some of the over 5 million people that already bought into the game during Early Access feel that time and resources spent on the lootbox system could have gone into making sure the game launches sooner. This particular user review seems to sum up most of what caused the backlash.
Saying there won't be any microtransactions in the Early Access version of your game, and then having them in there even just for testing purposes, was bound to cause friction between Bluehole and their players. One thing the internet is terribly good at is being nitpicky and detail oriented when it comes to subjects people are passionate about. A lot of the internet is very passionate about games, and sensitive on the topic of microtransactions.
The cases in which Early Access players are being lied to in one way or another are increasing in frequency, and one of the main things that made PUBG the viral phenomenon that it is today, was Brendan Greene's insistence on transparency while being blunt and straightforward with the community.
"While our intention was and still is to add the full feature to the game when we move into actual release, we do need to test it prior to launch and at Early Access so that it is stable and ready to be fully introduced to our community. The idea of testing, prior to full implementation, is at the heart of adding every new game feature in our game, and this includes the crate and key system which we believe will serve as the foundation of a healthy economy after launch", Greene explained in his reply to fans.
Now it seems like PUBG won't quite make its release deadline, and many players will see the time that went into the whole microtransaction business as part of the reason for that. Whether the game's financial success and viral popularity has achieved enough critical mass to overcome these first cracks in the player/developer relationship remains to be seen.