PUBG is now free-to-play

by Ben Kirby
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On the list of things that were pretty much inevitable for PUBG, I would suggest that going free-to-play was pretty high up there. It’s with mixed feelings that I make note of this occasion, but I’ll come to that shortly.

Here are the facts. As of January 12th 2022, PUBG will no longer require the purchase of the game to play it. Those that have previously purchased it will be given some in-game rewards (Special Commemorative Pack), and well, that’s kinda it.

The free-to-play version of PUBG comes with an optional “premium” upgrade. Unlocking a few bits, but I think the only real elements of note are Ranked mode and access to custom modes.

Thankfully, previous owners or PUBG will be given the premium of PUBG once it goes free-to-play, so you’re not expected to fork out again.

All in all, I think this was always going to happen, and there are some benefits to it, as well as some concerns.


The good stuff

With PUBG being an ever-expanding, ever-improving game, it needs as many players online as possible. Removing that cost barrier that may have been prohibitive to some in the past.

With added players comes added income from the cosmetic store etc, and you can see where this is going. Whilst Fortnite essentially ripped-off PUBG for the game format initially, PUBG are now learning from Epic who is arguable the master at turning a free game into massive profit.

Beyond that, though. I’ll be happy to try and get some friends to try it who weren’t sure about it. If the cost of entry to see if it’s your kinda thing is removed. Then there’s no excuse (aside from disk space!). I’ve been very pro-PUBG since the moment the early access version came to Xbox One (what a rough time for the game!), so to let people come into it now, whilst it’s arguably at its best, is a great thing.

More players, more money, more improvements and more development. In theory, anyway!

The not-so-good stuff

PUBG was so big in early access that the size of the studio, hell, the whole business around it grew significantly and quickly. Player Unknown himself is no longer part of the team (he still works for Krafton Inc. on new things!), and it’s come a long way.

It came a long way thanks to those of us who have bought it and played it numerous times. I’ve bought it on 2 platforms, I’ve bought it for friends, and I’ve played and played and played.

First came the season pass, a system synonymous with the free-to-play model. But the game still had to be purchased, then a pass on top of it.

Then the battle pass and daily challenges etc disappeared, so you’re not even working towards some specific stuff. And of course, the store with the awful currency packs and loot box for in-game points.

They’ve mashed it all in and tried everything. I’ve paid for the privilege of going through all of that, and now it’s removed the entry fee and even the battle pass.

There are a few 2018 buzzwords in there. Or rather red flags. “Free to play”, “Battle Pass” In-game Currency”, “Loot Box”. All are presented in different ways within different games. PUBG has tried it all and never really stuck the landing. I really hope free to play is the key to them sorting this stuff out, then I won’t begrudge how much I’ve paid so far.

Minor gripes

To be absolutely honest, the “not-so-good” side of things is my personal dismay, not a huge game-wrecking event. It’s frustrating, and I wish Krafton Inc. could work out what they want PUBG to be in terms of how they create a business model around it.

All being well, free-to-play is it and we’ll all benefit from a bigger player base, more money going into development and more new stuff coming back out of that.

If anything, I’m looking forward to my free stuff on the 12th and seeing if I can actually be better against new people coming into the game for the first time. Maybe this is the secret to my solo Chicken Dinner? Perhaps PUBG has always been adjusted and changed to suit me, and to help me get those wins?!

There’s so much new stuff in the game now (BMX bikes and Drones?!), and some much stuff coming. There couldn’t be a better time for new players to join in the fun.

Let’s see what you’ve got PUBG, I’ll see you in Pochinki!

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