Personal item trading has been temporarily turned off in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds.
PUBG handles trading through Market and Personal trading. The former allows players to exchange items through the Steam marketplace for real money, while the latter is intended for friends to swap items between each other.
The trouble is, players have been using third-party trading sites to sell items outside of the steam ecosystem. PUBG Corp claims this is an abuse of the system, and has turned off personal trades until a solution is found.
In a crackdown on third-party marketplaces, PUBG Corp has temporarily disabled personal trading between players. The Steam marketplace remains available for Battlegrounds trading, but items there must be sold with Steam store credit.
Players have turned similar third-party systems in games like Counter-Strike into a lucrative industry; research from Juniper suggests that skins and loot boxes will be a market worth $50bn by the year 2022.
Cheating is rife within the Battlegrounds community, and the possibility of money to be made selling and trading items likely only encourages cheaters.
Shutting down personal trades is only one of the measures PUBG Corp has taken this year to clean up its community. Chinese law enforcement recently arrested 15 suspects under suspicion of developing and distributing hacking programs for the title. This marks another step in PUBG Corp’s fight against cheating and shady activity around its title.
The battle royale game’s Chinese publishing partner Tencent has been teaming up with local police to tackle this problem.
There’s currently no concrete word on when personal trading will return.