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PCGamesInsider.biz Games of 2017 - Playerunknown's Battlegrounds: The One that Took Over The World

PCGamesInsider.biz Games of 2017 - Playerunknown's Battlegrounds: The One that Took Over The World

So, this one is basically a shoe-in and likely to appear on most, if not all, game of the year list.

Playerunknown's Battlegrounds was the biggest game of this year by pretty much any metric you throw its way, so let's break its success down by numbers.

The title has sold more than 20m copies since its March 23rd release – that's the last official announcement from PUBG Corp at the start of November, with our estimates placing sales at in the region of 25m at the time of writing [Update – as of December 21st, the game has shifted 30m copies across PC and Xbox One]. What's even crazier about this title is how sales have only accelerated since launch. It took the game three months to hit 4m copies sold; five months in it had hit 8m. It then sold 2m copies in two weeks before going to sell another 10m copies over the next two months. This sales curve is not usual and is probably the result of its Early Access and release and word of mouth marketing. 

It boasts the highest concurrent player figure, smashing the record held by DOTA 2 of 1,291,328 players. What's more, the title now regularly has in excess of two million concurrent players which is frankly insane, and is fast closing in on three million.

That the game has managed to upheave the balance of Steam's concurrent user figures being dominated by DOTA 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is mad, but also endlessly impressive.

The success of PUBG could not have happened on any other platform. The game proves the potential for innovation and exciting projects in the PC space. Playerunknown's Battlegrounds is inspired by a mod from creative director Brendan Greene, which itself was made in the DayZ mod of ARMA II. What started out as a military simulation title became a zombie survival game and has evolved into the battle royale genre. What's more – Playerunknown's Battlegrounds wasn't created – well, in essence – by a game development veteran working with a 1,000 person team. It was created by a man who wanted to make a specific kind of game while unemployed.

As freelance journalist Ben Parfitt pointed out earlier this year – if a game is truly innovative, it's probably on PC.

It isn't just its own success that is notable; Playerunknown's Battlegrounds has inspired a number of other companies to get into the battle royale genre. Everyone from Rockstar to Epic to Crytek is making a battle royale game, and 2018 surely only holds more of these kinds of titles.

Make no mistake, we are in a gold rush now. Everyone and their dog is going to make a battle royale game that is 'totally different but totally inspired' by PUBG – this is the MOBA space circa 2013/2014 where everyone is trying to imitate the massive success of Riot Games' League of Legend. Despite the reporting around Epic Games and Bluehole's very public spat earlier this year, Greene says that he himself feels no ownership over battle royale, and hopes that people will iterate on the formula.

It's worth keeping an eye on this space because the real innovation will be coming today or tomorrow, but a few years down the line.

It's true that the games media has written a lot about Playerunknown's Battlegrounds this year, and looking from the outside in, it can be a bit tiresome to see so much coverage for one game. But the fact of the matter is that Playerunknown's Battlegrounds is perhaps the biggest disruption to the video games market since Minecraft.

It might be one of games of 2017, but - as the game rolls out of Early Access on December 20th - I can't help but feel that PUBG is only just getting started.


Editor - PC Games Insider

Alex Calvin launched PCGamesInsider.biz in August 2017 and has been its editor since. Prior to this, he was deputy editor at UK based games trade paper MCV and content editor for marketing and events for London Games Festival 2017. His work has also appeared in Eurogamer, The Observer, Kotaku UK, Esquire UK and Develop.

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