During the Game Awards 2021 Gala, PUBG announced the switch to a free-to-play game on January 12, 2022. This switch comes five years after the original release of the game. During that time, PUBG was priced at $30 and included microtransactions that could be purchased throughout the gameplay. Over its five-year presence, PUBG has sold over 75 million copies between both the console and PC versions. According to Gamespot, PUBG has announced that the switch was a success and the game has experienced a growth of 486%. The game’s developer Krafton provided some additional statistics that help paint the whole picture as well.
In some places throughout the world, the game saw a much bigger increase than others. Krafton announced that the game saw levels of growth that were as high as 537% in areas such as Southeast Asia and South America. These increases in overall players resulted in over 690,000 players at one point during this transition. In addition to the increase of players that purchased the game, Krafton also announced that there was an increase in average playtime. PUBG experienced a 100% increase in average playtime on the console that include a 400% increase on the Playstation specifically. While the game experienced an increase of new players, they also offered compensation for those that bought the game prior to the switch.
For players who had purchased the game before the F2P switch, PUBG announced that they would have their accounts upgraded. Previous players would automatically receive an upgrade to Battleground Plus as well as various other rewards. This upgrade is a $12 value that new players will have to pay for within the game. While these rewards would be great, Krafton also announced that there are going to be rewards for players who are on the game at certain times. These rewards will come as a celebration of the game’s growth and be available to all players. The in-game rewards are available to players who spend at least one hour in the game from 7 pm eastern time on January 27th to 7 pm eastern time on January 30th.