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- PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
With over five million units sold, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the top-selling game of 2017 (so far). Its success has surprised many, none more than its South Korean development studio, Bluehole.
This financial success has allowed Bluehole to invest in itself, adding new staff to the more than 150 person team, and consider development of other games in the meantime. It’s been a huge boon for a studio that had only modest expectations for the game, and previously was only known for the 2011 MMO titled TERA.
But apparently it’s not quite satisfied. Recently revealed is an upcoming crate system that will allow players to open special crates that contain a variety of vanity items, including jackets, pants, shoes, and accessories. The idea is that players will be able to customize their characters using an assortment of items awarded randomly.
In a way similar to Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, these crates will drop for all players. Though, those who choose to open them will require a key priced at $2.50. Bluehole plans to use this money to help fund its ambition to make PUBG a popular eSports title with tournaments hosting large prize pools.
Also Read: The Evil Genius of Overwatch’s Loot Boxes
This DLC formatting hasn’t been taken kindly by the playerbase. Thousands have rallied to voice their concerns on forums and social media, arguing that such an addition only belongs in a free-to-play game.
A user on Reddit by the name of TravUK made a compelling argument that compared PUBG‘s DLC to Dota 2‘s similar system. He posted:
- Dota 2 is free to play. PUBG isn’t.
- PUBG is in early access. Dota 2 isn’t.
- Valve never said they would not monetize while Dota 2 was in beta/EA, PUBG did explicitly say this.
- Dota 2 sells £2.50 chests where you get an entire set. In PUBG you get 1 item of 1 set.
- You don’t receive duplicates in Dota 2 chests until you have received all common sets. If the chest system stays the same for the new chests in PUBG, you will receive duplicates.
Another user by the name of pacottromas made a funny point that was popular among Reddit users, making reference to the infamous Horse Armor in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion:
When the **** did we go from laughing at horse armour dlc to buying massively rng-based paid crates?
Beyond the aggressive monetization, many players are worried that there will be gameplay implications of adding cosmetics to what is a highly competitive tactical shooter. On this topic, a player by the name of Why-so-delirious stated that, while these are technically “just cosmetics”, they can and will affect gameplay.
Once third person peek cheese is gone, your ‘cosmetics’ are going to matter. Your ability to be spotted will be measured in how much your character moves while static (idle animations such as breathing, etc. Some game engines have really visible characters at any range, but some others make them near-invisible. I.E. Seeing someone laying down on top of rubble in a battlefield game is fucking easy. Seeing that same person in a game like arma is significantly more difficult) and your clothes will matter.
Although this addition is clearly unpopular amongst the community, cosmetic DLC generates hundreds of millions of dollars per year in the gaming industry. As a team that first and foremost is responsible for making as much money as possible, it’s understandable that DLC will be implemented to further monetize the game, spurring further growth for Bluehole in the process. To many, it’s simply disappointing that a game that had no expectations of being popular is having DLC thrown into the faces of everyone who already paid at least $29.99 to play.
Ultimately, trends like these are the result of consumer demand. Product creators always follow money, so if consumers decided one day to outright stop investing in cosmetic videogame goods altogether, this trend would change in a heartbeat. But the exact opposite has occurred in recent years, with DLC accounting for more revenue than ever before. Not even the most beloved developers in the industry, from Naughty Dog to Blizzard and Valve, have been able to steer away from microtransactions.
Bluehole recently confirmed that PUBG is on-schedule to hit an official release this Fall for PC. An Xbox One version will release shortly after.