During this week’s Inside Xbox, Microsoft and PUBG Corp revealed that version 1.0 will launch on September 4th. The popular Battle Royale game will finally leave Game Preview following its debut last December. Improvements, a new map, and achievements will accompany the full release. While it’s great to see PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds launch version 1.0, I wonder if it’s too late for the game?
Last year, I would’ve said that Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG for the rest of the article) could never be dethroned. As someone who doesn’t play on the PC often, I bought PUBG immediately at launch and spent hours trying to get a chicken dinner. When the Game Preview version launched on Xbox One, I bought it on day one and kept playing despite the disastrous first few days. Over the following few months, I sporadically played by myself and with my squad. We noticed the improvements over time, but the overall experience was still rough around the edges.
Suddenly, Epic Games released Fortnite: Battle Royale, a game that I loathed when it initially launched. My friends all jumped ship, but I stuck with PUBG. I didn’t like the fact that at first glance, Fortnite: Battle Royale looked like a blatant ripoff of PUBG, and I wasn’t a fan of the building. Eventually, I stopped playing PUBG (until last week), gave Fortnite: Battle Royale another chance, and I’ve rarely looked back. Fortnite scratched that Battle Royale itch that I couldn’t get rid of. Honestly, I kind of forgot that PUBG even existed anymore. I follow 462 accounts on Twitter, and the only tweets about PUBG I see are from official Xbox accounts. No other gamers or people from the video game industry even talk about it anymore.
This got me thinking; how big is the audience for PUBG on Xbox One? I’m sure there is a community, but by the conversation online, one could assume that there aren’t many fans out there. Version 1.0 is launching, but it’s still a little buggy. The experience is definitely better than where it was after launch. With 18 patches since last December, it’s clear that the development team has been hard at work. September 4th is two weeks away and I don’t think the full release is ready. I think the team should really hold off for a few more weeks to fine-tune everything. The last thing PUBG needs is to have a launch similar to when the title entered Game Preview last year.
With Fortnite: Battle Royale as big as it is, how many people will jump back into PUBG on September 4th? One thing Fortnite: Battle Royale has going for it is the fact that the game is free. The amount of people I know who play because there is no cost is incredible. Almost everybody on my Xbox Live friends list plays Fortnite: Battle Royale. PUBG being $29.99 limits the number of people who will play the game. After all, would you rather pay $30 or nothing to experience a game?
PUBG is definitely an influential game on the market. Before PUBG, I never heard of the Battle Royale genre. Now, there are a few similar games out there that I don’t think would exist without PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Unfortunately, I think all of the buzz surrounding the game has fizzled out. Will the community embrace 1.0 with open arms, or will the servers be empty by the end of the year? I hope that PUBG has an audience and it thrives for years to come. Unfortunately, games like Fortnite: Battle Royale have stolen the spotlight away, and while PUBG will be better than ever, I think it’s a little too late, and the game has lost its relevancy. Only time will tell, but I don’t think PUBG will be the hit Microsoft thought it would be when it brought the game to Xbox.