Microsoft has a holiday surprise for the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds faithful out there. From December 17 through December 30, every Xbox One X system will come with a free copy of the game.
The multiplayer phenomenon by Korean developer Bluehole has, over the past year, become the most-played game in the history of Steam and made battle royale games one of the hottest commodities in the industry. Though its status as an early access game stirred up some controversy over its many Game of the Year nominations, no one can deny that the craze this title has whipped up has been among the most relevant and impactful recent stories in the gaming world. And that means everyone wants a piece of the cut.
Now under the newly-formed banner of the PUBG Corporation, Bluehole has already had many suitors for exclusivity rights and equity in the company, including developers like Chinese gaming monolith Tencent. However, the most interesting story is Microsoft’s insistence on extending their exclusivity deal with the shooter, even before it left early access. With the game slated for a PS4 release at some point, Microsoft is protecting their baby for as long as possible—potentially to keep players from being converted to free-to-play competitor Fortnight: Battle Royale, which released on Xbox One before PUBG had a chance.
Games like PUBG don’t come around very often, and Microsoft is well aware of that fact. As a result, they’re doubling down on the craze as the lead seller of hardware as we head into the final stretch of the holiday season. Many have likely already accomplished their Christmas shopping, but for those on the fence or with money to spend after the big day, this could be a major draw.