Most games don’t shoot right to the top of the charts, and those that do are usually part of established franchises with a built-in fanbase. That’s what makes PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds so perplexing. After launching on Steam Early Access earlier in 2017, the game has now crossed 3 million active players on Steam. That means this one game has more players than the rest of the games in the top 10…combined.
Even if you haven’t played PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) at this point, you’ve probably at least heard of it. This game is an example of the “battle royale” genre, where up to 100 players are dropped on an island. They must scavenge for weapons to eliminate each other until there is only one player left standing. The game’s map continuously forces players into a smaller and smaller space to force encounters as well.
PUBG started as a mod pack for other games, but was eventually turned into a standalone game by Korea-based PUBG Corporation (a subsidiary of Bluehole). The initial release came in March of 2017, and it immediately gained some fans. However, the game’s performance even on powerful computers was lacking.
The final v1.0 release launched several weeks ago in December 2017, but some players say it’s still taxing on systems. Many also continue to complain about rampant cheating, though the developer says more than 1.5 million accounts have been banned for hacking the game. It’s currently holding onto a “mixed” review score on Steam with almost half a million total reviews. These issues haven’t stopped people from playing PUBG, though.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, with its 3 million active players, is far ahead of titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and Rocket League. Players around the world have racked up more than a billion hours playing PUBG. This is all especially impressive when you consider PUBG is a $ 30 game. Many of the other games in the Steam top 10 are either free-to-play or much cheaper. Technically, the 3 million player number was the all-time record — PUBG goes up and down like most games, but it’s always at the top of the list.
This is all just the PC version of PUBG — an early access version recently launched (with lots of bugs) on Xbox One recently, and other consoles will follow. Chinese gaming powerhouse Tencent is also planning an official PC release and a mobile adaptation. That 3-million-player record from Steam might look like small potatoes when the Chinese version drops.