PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has been pulling in gamers in droves, but the recent announcement of loot crates that required players to spend actual money to unlock them had some fans in an uproar. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds‘ creator, Brendan Greene, took a moment to explain the decision to include microtransactions at this stage in development in his Month 4 Update announcement on steam.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds released on Steam in March as an early access game. Since then, it has received regular updates to include fixes, new weapons, new game modes, and new features. One thing many players were not expecting to see while the game was in early access was microtransactions, as the game’s FAQ had said there would be microtransactions “only after Early Access.” The new crate and key system was announced July 25 in connection to a tournament the game will hosting at gamescom in late August.
Responding to the fan backlash, Greene said in his announcement, “While our intention was and still is to add the full feature to the game when we move into actual release, we do need to test it prior to launch and at Early Access so that it is stable and ready to be fully introduced to our community.” He also stressed that the microtransactions were “purely optional,” so players who aren’t interested in spending more money on the game don’t have to.
Players’ concerns were not entirely unwarranted. Since PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is still in early access, it is surprising to see it implementing a system that can earn the game more money even before its completion. Players may assume Battlegrounds already has plenty of considering how many players it has. Another side of the concern may be that microtransactions at this point will reduce the incentive to finish the game and get out of early access.
However, given the staggering popularity of Battlegrounds in spite of its early access state, the inclusion of microtransactions makes sense. As Greene says, it needs to be tested like anything else to ensure it works properly when the game leaves early access. And with the millions of fans already in the game, there are undoubtedly those who want to start customizing their character right now.
While fans may have been expecting microtransactions to come only after the complete release of the game because of Battlegrounds’ FAQ, its early inclusion should not harm the game. Since the system is optional and cosmetic, players who opt in and opt out will remain on an even footing, and gamers looking to spice up their look have an opportunity to do so earlier than they might have otherwise. Of course, players won’t see their own cosmetics too much if they jump in the upcoming first-person only servers.
Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds is out now for PC in early access, with a release for PS4 and Xbox One expected in late 2017.