- Part of...States of Play: Roleplay Reality
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, 2016
Playable game; playthrough videos
Korean-made PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (or PUBG ) is easily the most successful game of 2017, setting world records for number of online players, and selling 2 million copies in just five weeks on Steam’s Early Access: a section of the marketplace where game-makers can sell in-development versions of games at a discount, letting players buy in before it’s actually finished and help fund further development.
It is a multiplayer shooter, ‘battle royale’ style game, a genre inspired by the Japanese film of the same name. Each round consists of 100 players parachuting onto an island and fighting it out until only one survives, to receive the prestigious ‘Chicken Dinner’, i.e. winning.
Rather than relying on games journalists to promote the release, much of PUBG’s momentum came from big streamers — pro and semi-pro gamers who stream their lengthy game-playing sessions online, usually on Amazon’s Twitch service. Part of what has made PUBG such a success is that the game seems perfect for streaming as well as social playing. As streamers become more and more important to the video game economy, the more games cater to its rhythms, maximising on the publicity these huge communities afford.
Another reason PUBG has proven so popular where other massive online shooters have failed is that losing can be fun, and anything in between is an adventure. This, as well as the high impact/low stakes investment return, sets PUBG apart entirely -and in a meaningful way- from almost any other competitive multiplayer game, and also makes it the perfect online bonding experience.
Courtesy of Bluehole Studios Inc.