PUBG Battlegrounds dev reveals "almost two year deliberation" before free-to-play move

PUBG Battlegrounds dev reveals "almost two year deliberation" before free-to-play move
Images courtesy of PUBG Studios and KRAFTON

Written by 

Lloyd Coombes


7th Apr 2023 16:31

Remember back in 2017 when everyone and their mum was playing PUBG and working towards a "chicken dinner"? Those were great times, and the now-titled PUBG Battlegrounds has continued to evolve and mix things up with new maps, new crossovers, and the game finally moving to a free-to-play model.

Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone (and its sequel), and Fortnite all dropped into the battle royale landscape at no cost to players, before PUBG Battlegrounds switched things up in 2022.

With so many of its competitors launching with no price tag, we asked Executive Producer Taeseok Jang about the decision to move to free-to-play, and whether it could have happened sooner.

PUBG Battlegrounds dev on the move to free-to-play

"Ahead of the F2P transition, we spent almost two years on deliberation and preparation," Jang explains, revealing it had been a discussion for years.

"We wanted to be well prepared rather than rushing it. Therefore, we don’t regret not doing it sooner." As for the results, they certainly speak for themselves.

"Since PUBG: Battlegrounds became free-to-play last year, the number of new users has risen by 370% from 2021, which translates to 45 million new users," Jang reveals.

"Active users have also increased by 120% from 2021, and the ratio of new, existing, and returning users remains healthy.

"In the end, the free-to-play service has stabilised in terms of traffic and providing a better gameplay environment."

From the sounds of things, then, PUBG's move to free-to-play helped improve its long-term future.

For more on that future, be sure to check out the rest of our interview with Taeseok Jang where he discusses the evolution of PUBG, the need to innovate, and how the team feels about other battle royales in the space.

Lloyd is GGRecon's Editor-in-Chief, having previously worked at Dexerto and Gfinity, and occasionally appears in The Daily Star newspaper. A big fan of loot-based games including Destiny 2 and Diablo 4, when he's not working you'll find him at the gym or trying to play Magic The Gathering.

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