PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds sales pass 4 million

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The incredible rise of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds [official site] continues. The early access Battle Royale ’em up has surpassed 4 million copies sold, developers Bluehole Studio announced yesterday, which is… er… a lot. The game hasn’t even come out yet and it’s sold more copies than Zelda: Breath of the Wild (that’s at 3 million, and Link had a 20-day head-start). Pretty staggering.

Bluehole also boast that the game has hit $100m of revenue, 230,000 peak concurrent users on Steam, and 350,000 simultaneous viewers on Twitch. In case you didn’t realise, these are BIG NUMBERS.

What you need to know about the game, if you intend to join the masses, is that you’re dropped in to a 64 square kilometres maps with lots of other players with the aim of being the last one alive. The playable area is shrinking all the time so you can’t just cower in a corner (which would be my instinct). Creator Brendan ‘PlayerUnknown’ Greene made Battle Royale mods for Arma before chipping in on Daybreak’s similar H1Z1: King of the Kill then getting a game with his own name on it.

Plunkbat has been sitting at the top of the Steam charts perhaps longer than any other game since our records began, and for good reason, because it’s excellent. Or at least I’m told it is. I’m one of the few who hasn’t played it, or even watched a video of the damned thing. It’s not that I’m against it or anything, I just haven’t got round to it. But I suppose at some point, as all my friends inevitably pick up their own copies, then it will be hard to avoid.

If you want an opinion on it, turn to Brendan’s review of the game, or Adam’s account of his first (and only) kill in the game. Or read why it’s officially one of the top top bestest best games of 2017 so far.

There’s no signs of it slowing down, so I guess the only question is: how long until the next milestone topples?

Plans for near-future updates include vaulting and climbing and a Glock.

You can pick it up on Steam Early Access for £26.99/29,99€/$29.99.

70 Comments

  1. flashman says:

    It’s hard to overstate how compelling this game is. Especially after scoring your first win. Despite the heavy lag that sometimes dogs the early game, and often quirky vehicle physics, the game is solid. Almost undoubtedly a top 3 contender in every 2017 GOTY list.

    • Deathmaster says:

      GOTY? Holy mother of tastelessness.

      • vahnn says:

        Yeah, downright AWFUL. Why should a game that keeps millions of people playing for hundreds of hours be considered for GOTY? Why can’t it just be artsy-fartsy games that YOU like?!

        • Cinek says:

          Popularity ≠ Quality. Read the review of it. It basically says everything about it there is to say. Another me too battle royal shooter grinding the rising tide we’ve been experiencing since ARMA mods and ARK. The fact that it’s got a formula that makes it a very compelling for Twitch and Youtube is more of a reason for its popularity than the actual quality delivered which is… rather poor, with even core stuff like gunplay being sub-pair to most of the shooters on a market.

      • Pizzzahut says:

        Of course this is GOTY material. This is a superb game.

    • Toppins says:

      For me this game is the multiplayer equivalent of the “really good 7/10 action game”. It’s fun, popular, and has real appeal to a lot of people, but… let’s be honest, it’s all a bit janky.

  2. Blowfeld81 says:

    I enjoy the game occasionally, but I am really worried about the inevitable flood of battle royal games that will come out in the years to come.

    This is the moba / ww2 / zombie hype all over again…

    • brucethemoose says:

      There’s more room for variation here though. Crytek’s Hunt: Showdown, for instance, looks like a me-too game at first glance, but the gameplay itself is very interesting.

      Then again, I thought the same thing about MMOs… And look how well that went :(

      • Blowfeld81 says:

        Yeah, that particular game was planned as co-op game, then turned into semi PVP… seems like crytek were like “oh, battle royal is the hot shit right now, so let’s use some of that gameplay in our game to ride the wave”

        At least the optics look intriguing, even though the trailer had to many “zombie” like enemies for my taste.

        I’ll give it the benefit of doubt until release, mostly because I would love Crytek to release something that pays well in the long run, so they can pay their employees.

  3. vast_anusse103 says:

    I think it might be egg on face time for RPS this time, chaps. The review was incredibly negative and made out that the game was basically awful. Do bite the bullet rather than (unconvincingly) pretending you hardly know what it is. Best to face it and move forward, not like the weirdly decreasing playing area.

    • Ghostwise says:

      You seem to be reading website than I do.

      • vast_anusse103 says:

        Word missing I think. Was it ‘fuck you’?

        • Ghostwise says:

          Errr… do you need help ?

          • vast_anusse103 says:

            If you’re going to make us guess, we will. I guess there’s no word missing and you were too emotional to check your own typing, and were happy to not make any sense. Pardon me if my guess was wrong, but I did try to check.

    • Nevard says:

      Did you miss the fact that they published an article listing it as one of the best games of 2017, another much more positive review of it, and also linked both in this article?
      The whole point of the premature evaluation series is that it’s exactly as described in the title, an early look at a game in early access. That opinions can change as the games covered pick up and gain more development is an inherent part of the series.

      Nobody “pretended” they didn’t know what it was. You know RPS features multiple writers, right?

      • meloncrab says:

        After this incredibely negative comment I think it’s time for vast_anus to bite the bullet and face it.

      • vahnn says:

        Exactly. I picked up the game day one just because all my friend were. But it was terrible, at least for me. It ran like molasses (on my 5ghz 7700k and gtx1080), the gunplay felt goofy, the hit detection seemed off. So I got a refund.

        Later my friend assured me they fixed all that and more in regular patches, and 10 weeks later I bought it again. It’s now one of my favorite games of all time, of any genre and any platform.

      • vast_anusse103 says:

        Two reviews?

        • vast_anusse103 says:

          I’ll bite the bullet, I’m not a game reviewer. No problem there. Sorry I missed the other review. I didn’t realise they’d changed their minds so much.

          • vast_anusse103 says:

            I’ll definitely be less vocal in future when I see a non-review as a review, and I’ll certainly be willing to spend more time checking back for each and every writer’s opinion before I dare to give my own opinion again. Sorry that I misunderstood what review means and I’ll probably refrain from ever offering my opinion on them. Let’s all join in with a cheer for RPS. :-)

          • skeletortoise says:

            I don’t think anyone expects you to have perfect knowledge regarding the various opinions RPS has expressed about a given game. Unless, of course, you tried to completely condemn the opinions RPS has expressed and call them out on them. That would make it, as people say, egg on the face time.

          • Nevard says:

            Reading articles that are literally linked in the article you are complaining about would be a good start, it sort of implies that you didn’t even read the whole of this one.

      • vast_anusse103 says:

        To Nevard, yes I guess I did miss that fact. Sorry that I didn’t realise that another opinion was coming that would make the previous one invalid. I’ll be more careful in future so as to avoid your wrath. :-)

  4. gwop_the_derailer says:

    I was wary of these battle royale games, but I have come to enjoy Polygon’s Awful Squad sessions.

  5. Lobotomist says:

    So is the game actually that good , or is it just hype ?

    • giei says:

      Best 2017 game

    • Pich says:

      It’s very good if you can handle the jankness.

    • Deathmaster says:

      It’s an unbearable piece of crap that deserves no further attention.

    • jonahcutter says:

      If you like this genre, it seems to do it very well.

      I’m just so-so on the genre, and I still find myself “one-more-round-ing ” a bit. I imagine if you love this type of game it would be highly addictive.

    • sosolidshoe says:

      I can’t figure out what people find so compelling about it tbh. From what I’ve seen watching it on twitch a lot of whether or not you succeed is down to sheer dumb luck – do you pick a location where loads of other folk also drop or not, does the location you pick have decent loot or not, does a car spawn near you when you need one etc – and half the time folk seem to get killed by some random long-range shots from enemies you can’t even see.

      Without a group of streamers clowning about as they play I think it might be – to my taste anyway – one of the most tedious games I’ve seen in a while. Evidently I’m in the minority with that view though.

  6. DarkFenix says:

    I really don’t see the appeal in this game. In my eyes it basically takes the part of DayZ I didn’t like (ie. the fact that it just becomes a big deathmatch in the end) and makes it a standalone game.

    But then again I’m one of those crazies who generally doesn’t like the mainstream titles, so perhaps this says more about me than anything else.

    • theirongiant says:

      I’m the opposite, I think it takes all the best parts of DayZ – lootin’ and shootin’ on a huge open map – and refines it down to 30 minutes of pure fun.

  7. Premium User Badge

    MajorLag says:

    As with many popular things, it seems, I just don’t get the appeal. It sounds like it’s 25 minutes of boredom punctuated by 30 seconds to 2 minutes of excitement and maybe the endorphin rush of a victory, but mostly waiting and frustration.

    When I watched a youtuber I follow play it, it looked exactly like it sounded. He seemed to really enjoy it but struggled to describe why over the 20+ minutes of running around and collecting things before his first encounter with another player. There was a bit more excitement after that and he did win the round, but I couldn’t help feeling like suffering through the first 20 minutes of boredom (and presumably every round before that he didn’t win) was a huge contributor to making those few good minutes enjoyable.

    And worse, it seemed like everything was very heavily luck based. He was so new to the game he didn’t know which key mapped to fire-select. By the time he even saw another player there were only like 15 left and in the end he only killed 3.

    I’m sure it’ll top the charts for a long time, and it’ll stay in the top 10 long after that. But much like CS:GO and GTAV, I don’t think it’ll be because it’s a particularly worthwhile or interesting experience.

    • theallmightybob says:

      I’m going to have to disagree having played it. solo mode is no fun at all, but duo can get my heart racing. The shear amount of random moment too moment terror if you are invested in getting you and your friend a chicken dinner is exquisite. having to adapt your tactics moment to moment is great fun.

    • vahnn says:

      It can be that way. It’s a valid tactic to parachute early and glide far away to a secluded area and hunt for gear in peace. But like you said, that can be boring, especially when playing solo with no one to keep you company.

      I like flying into the popular hot spots and scrambling for a quick gun and the chaotic fights that happen in the opening minutes. I’m a relatively good shooter, so I usually come out with a couple kills and some good gear.

      The game is very dynamic and you need to constantly change your strategy based on many factors. Where am I relative to the circle? How long before it starts to close? Do I scavenge these remaining buildings til the last second and run blind toward safe zone, or leave early with less gear and meds but with time to move cautiously? How many players are left? Can I run across that field or should I take a 1.5 minute detour to get to the cover of trees and then move from there?

      And then the varying circumstances which determine how encounters play out. Do I have ranged optics? Try to shoot him on the run or wait for him to stop for a second? I font have a suppressor or flash hider–if I shoot, I could be seen from 360 degrees because I’m at the top of an exposed hill. Looks like he doesn’t have a long gun, I’m going to try to get close to use my silenced smg. These exterior doors are all closed, but inside doors are open… shit someone’s probably here.

      It’s great fun, and while often games do play out the same way, many times you’re forced tio play differently or outside your comfort zone. Once I landed at the shooting range in a duo match. I was in the only small building. My partner died, and 2 guys were camping the 2 doors with SMGs and shotguns. I sat patiently for a couple minutes. They approached and opened a door while standing off to the side. I rushed out with my 7-shot 1911 and killed one guy who was so surprised he didn’t even shoot! Then ran back in, closing the door behind him. Then I ran back in and opened the back door. His partner opened the front door, ready for me. He saw the back door own and rushed in to chase, not wanting to let his prey escape. He ran right past me and I shoot him in the back, then had a good start with a UMP, hunting shotgun, and some ammo.

      This kind of stuff is why the game is great.

    • fish99 says:

      I’d say you shouldn’t be judging it based on a youtuber who is so new to the game he doesn’t know the controls. Also if they said they were enjoying it why wouldn’t you believe them?

      There’s as much action in the game as you want. Land somewhere popular and you’ll have combat straight away. Then get a vehicle and go chasing crates and you’ll have combat the whole game. On the other hand, land in the middle of nowhere and spend the whole game hiding in buildings, then obviously you’re not going to see much combat until the end.

      As for whether it’s a worthwhile experience, it’s fun to play, i.e. lots of people are having a lot of fun playing it. What more do you want out of a multiplayer shooter, and who are you to tell them they’re not having a worthwhile experience?

      • Premium User Badge

        MajorLag says:

        I believe he did enjoy it, the same way some people enjoy gambling in Vegas. I’m not one of those people and I don’t believe I’d enjoy it based on what I saw. I believe I’d spend most of the time either doing nothing interesting like he did, or being dead after a short period of doing not much at all. The game isn’t unique in that respect, I don’t play a lot of multiplayer online shooters for precisely the same reasons.

        And sometimes “fun” and “worthwhile” don’t overlap. See: gambling in Vegas. If those people are having fun, more power to them I guess, but that doesn’t mean they’re doing something worthwhile. There are games out there that I can honestly say have improved my life in some way by playing them, and I very much doubt this would be one of them even if I did like it.

        I’m not saying no one should play it or that it’s a bad game, just that I don’t really get the appeal. Which bodes well for the developers, because as I said, I don’t get the appeal of many very popular trends.

        • fish99 says:

          Reading between the lines, you’re basically saying you don’t like it because it’s popular.

          • Premium User Badge

            MajorLag says:

            Not at all. I’m saying there are qualities about it that I don’t like and have difficulty understanding why others do. I like plenty of popular games, but you won’t find many shooters among them because they tend to share a lot of those same qualities.

    • meepmeep says:

      The key element being that you have no idea when in the game that 30 seconds of excitement will actually occur. You are not preparing at length for something that will come at a known later, you are continuously optimising for what may happen in the next heartbeat.

      • Premium User Badge

        MajorLag says:

        Now you’re just making it sound like a Skinner box. The pigeon doesn’t know when the pressing the button will result in food, so he just keeps doing it.

        • theallmightybob says:

          and you just sound like you can get over your bias. from what i read in your comments you don’t like a lot of the random elements. that’s fine, many people like being on their toes and rolling with the punches.

          • Halk says:

            Why are you guys reducing his valid, well-explained points to easily dismissible reasons? I see the game in pretty much the same way, and it has nothing to do with randomness, popularity or other things. It just seems empty, and that people like the game not because of the game itself, but because of how it makes unexciting events seem extraordinary by surrounding them with nothingness. Gambling does seem to be an apt comparison.

            As he said, that does not mean there is something inherently wrong in people enjoying it, just that we don’t get the appeal.

    • jonahcutter says:

      One thing you’ll rapidly learn (or should) if you play it is that a lethal confrontation can happen at any moment. During that 30 mins there can be many quiet moments, but also completely random encounters with any number of players.

      It’s structured very well to keep players moving and and randomly intermixing. Those 30 minutes may often be quiet, but they are rarely relaxed.

  8. Retzinsky says:

    The most interesting thing about this game to me is that it’s insanely popular despite not being a particularly good implementation of the core idea it’s based on.

    Look at all the things wrong with it:
    * dodgy physics
    * unnecessarily cumbersome inventory management
    * third person view lets you see round corners
    * actual gunplay is pretty poor / hit detection can be a bit ropey
    * it looks/sounds like ass

    It’s not even a fresh or remotely complicated idea, and yet, and yet it has managed to captivate literally hundreds of thousands of people based entirely on one thing: That despite its shortcomings it pretty much does exactly the thing that people buying it want without repeatedly whacking them in the face with some failure or another. You can, like, press a button and play the game! To its conclusion! Straight out of the box!

    Apparently that’s the high bar in this genre.

    Imagine for a minute that somebody comes along and actually fixes all those little problems and releases that game. It’ll break the goddamn internet. Perhaps that could even happen for PUBG. I’ve got to assume that they can fix at least some of the game’s issues with (raises pinky to mouth) one hundred million dollars.

    • Bucketear says:

      It doesn’t really have a whole lot of solid competition. And honestly its early access, most people are paying with the promise that they will eventually fix these issues.

    • fish99 says:

      Only one of those points that is valid is the third person view letting you see around corners.

    • meepmeep says:

      “This game is not as good as a better game that does not yet exist.”

    • theirongiant says:

      DayZ Battle Royale, Arma 3 Battle Royale, H1Z1 King of the Kill, The Culling – as far as I know those are all the games in the ‘battle royale’ genre, of them only 2 are standalone games, PUBG’s hits the high bar of being the best implementation of a genre that is 5 titles old, 3/4 of which are designed by the guy that made PUBG.

  9. HumpX says:

    one bright skin hack and this game is toast.

  10. vahnn says:

    I disagree with all of your points except physics where vehicles are concerned, and that hit detection is occasionally wonky.

  11. RanDomino says:

    It’s janky as hell, sure, but I think that’s part of the appeal. The third-person corner look adds a lot of tactical awareness that adds strategy to fights, for example. The ~10 minutes at the start of the game when you’re just looting is very important to the pacing, because it starts off atrociously slow and then by the end every second matters, and also because it adds a cost to death- if you could just pop into a new game and get into the action within a few seconds, death wouldn’t have any weight and there wouldn’t be any tension. Squad games also use the early looting period for friends to just hang out and chat.

    It’s like what Day9 says about Starcraft- the fact that you can only have so many units on hotkeys adds a dimension of challenge to unit management, as does the awful unit pathfinding, and lots of aspects of micromanagement. So a lot of the skill and tension is found in the fact that the game has so many problems.

    • Premium User Badge

      keithzg says:

      I’m really going to have to disagree on that last part. The pacing of Plunkbat is a bit wonky but I agree in the end it adds a lot to it. Conversely, the technical and interface issues with Starcraft (I and II) make for a worse game than it could be, as do the technical issues with Plunkbat.

      I’m actually particularly incensed with Starcraft right now as I finally picked up 2.2 and 2.3 (after having played a lot of the initial release both online and offline), and playing through the campaigns I find myself spending more time fighting against the bad interface and idiotic unit pathfinding and etc etc than I do in the Strategy part of what is ostensibly a Real-Time Strategy game. It remains vastly inferior in a UX sense to SuComm, a game over a decade old now, and that has entirely dissuaded me from trying to get back into playing it online.

      Been very much enjoying Plunkbat, though. Maybe one day I’ll find the magic incantation that prevents it from randomly dropping to single-digit frames per second at times I need it most to not do so.

  12. allthingslive says:

    As much as I despise this game and the new battle royale trend as a whole, that is an impressive sales number… I didn’t realize there were even 4 million people that played video games let alone PC gamers

  13. FordTruck says:

    So will it be Activision/EA/UBISOFT/SONY/MICROSOFT who make the first Triple A survival game after seeing these type of numbers

  14. ChrisT1981 says:

    I have to say that this game is quite fascinating to me. I love me Battle Royale movies to pass time on Weekends some time, but never was interested in playing it as a game. Even worse: I whole heartedly loved DayZ for it’s concept of freeform survival in a Zombie apocalypse. And while waiting for that survival in harsh environment aspect to finally be realized I too spent about 1 and a half years with a small squad PvPing away at other squads, slowly getting bored of it then growing a real hate for the fact that seemingly the community and development of DayZ started to Center just around PvP. So I wasn’t simply not interested in those Battle Royale games I really despized them as boring shallow free for all PvP deathmatches.

    PUBG really catched me by surprise. After reading about it week after week on RPS I thought “What the heck, just give it a try”. Game wasn’t even on sale, I just had time, none of the games in my steam library backlog seemed interesting and RPS said the game iz gud.

    So I got the game installed it and played my first match. First surprise: this is an EA game but I am in the starting area for a match just seconds after hitting “Play”.

    Then the game started I jumped out the plane, landed saw a lot of other Players, thus I ran into a house. Found a Hand gun there on the ground floor and went up to sweep second floor and got killed not knwoing where from. Those were the first fiveish minutes I had with PubG.

    But second surprise: Somehow nothing about this was frustrating. I just hit Play again and immediatly was in a new match again with the same level and fair starting conditions.

    My third surprise: Playing the game more and more I realized there is nothing shallow about this and it has very little in common with free for all deathmatch games.

    Starting with the drop point you make strategic and tactical decisions all the time in this game. And the electric fence moving in ever closer to reduce the playing field only lends to that while at the same time ensuring matches rarely go far beyond the 30 Minute mark in solo.

    I am still on the learning curve of this game, which makes every death I suffer not frustrating but a learning experience.

    The combination of unexpectedly strategic gameplay, clever mechanics and the sheer playerbase this early in development makes for a really fun game that’s snowballing it’s way to success imho. Get the game more stable, maybe add a few different maps and fun mutators of the basic gamemode for diversity and you’re done.

  15. CalmLucas says:

    This game is addicting like drugs in the same way as drugs. It eats tons of time bringing nothing valuable to life besides empty joy to your brain (it’s like eating empty calories from sweets). It has no story – you’re doing same things over and over and over. It feeds your basic instincts like killing and surviving and that’s why you want it more and more. It can also control your mental mood in real life: if you had good matches you will probably feel satisfied for next few hours after playing, otherwise if you had been killed quickly many times you will be frustrated and angry for many hours. In other words – your mental efficiency is controlled by some random item placement generator in some video game – just how stupid it is. The moment I realized this (I just felt like that donkey-sucker from old Tom & Jerry cartoons) I stopped playing this.

    For clarity: I don’t intend to insult anyone who like PUBG – it is only my personal feelings after playing many hours.

    • Random says:

      This really resonates with what I’ve been observing in myself recently where I find that my patience with empty pointless make-believe busywork is approaching zero and fast. Running around, picking up stuff, shuffling icons around, managing inventories, comparing a gazillion guns and gadgets, crafting whatever, getting some numbers thrown at me where I’ve supposedly achieved something or other.

      These are genuine “Why would I choose to do THIS with my life?” moments. Call it ADHD, but if a game doesn’t get straight to the point with great writing/great atmosphere or challenging, satisfying action in a focused way with zero filler, I’m not touching it again. Give me Mass Effect (the old ones! And I realise it may not be the best example, but the amount of signal-to-noise ratio was really good), Tales of the Borderlands, Portal, Half-Life, Quake, Doom.

      No offence meant to anyone really, I’ll be the last person to suggest to do something productive rather than playing games or that games have to have a deeper meaning than just being fun. They really don’t. But there’s gourmet meals and there’s fast food and I’m not getting younger.

      • Premium User Badge

        keithzg says:

        Hah, see, I had precisely the same objections to Mass Effect (the first one). For Plunkbat, I actually love it because of how chaotic and varied it is within the nicely compact parameters it stakes out, and the unpredictable and interesting stories it generates.

        And over time I’m starting to genuinely understand the map, so it’s not as if each play session is just a waste if I don’t win. But more importantly, it’s stuff like how the other day I was playing the 4-person-squad mode and my squad and another one ran straight into eachother, a quick and brutal CQC that ended in one member left alive from each team. The other squad’s sole survivor was hidden behind a door, and because the comms are squad based but also proximity based, a tense and hilarious negotiation ensued, ending with the other squad’s survivor coming out holding up a frying pan as a peace gesture. I had been killed in this melee, but stayed on as a spectator for many minutes, enthralled as the unlikely team barely escaped from one perilous situation after another until eventually my teammate was downed in a sudden burst of gunfire from somewhere unseen—just as the play area was closing in on them. Our spectator mics being attached to our now-dead teammate’s body, we all yelled at the other guy to run for his life, and listed as his constant stream of “ohfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck…” trailed off as he ran away.

        (Also, to be fair here, Plunkbat doesn’t include any crafting, and certainly in terms of getting straight to the point, it does so more than any other game of its ilk that I’ve played. Although I also like sometimes firing up solo and running off to some far corner of the map, as far from the 99 other competitors as I can figure to be, and just listening to the wind and the distant sound of gunfire.)

  16. Premium User Badge

    cultiv8ed says:

    I started this year playing H1Z1 KOTK. When I heard about this being released I held off for a long time (“not ANOTHER sandboxy battle royale game…”). I finally bit the bullet and was so glad I did as its better than H1Z1 in just about every respect.
    It feels much more DayZ-like but addresses my main issue with DayZ (Standalone) which was its lack of purpose and interesting things to do.
    If you have a few friends playing this already and you haven’t yet bought it. Get it.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Tartrazine says:

    If my experience of H1 is anything to go by, you’ll start off by finishing in the top 10 every match. Then drop down the rankings as you play more.

    In my early H1 playing I spent that majority of the time steering well clear of everyone else, letting them kill each other until I was forced in close enough where running into other players was unavoidable. It was more fear and lack of skill than tactics.

    My son plays H1 all the time, and whenever he runs into a player in the middle of nowhere with nothing more than a crash helmet and a pistol he shouts ‘hello dad’ before shotgunning him in the face.

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