PUBG Explodes in Popularity on Steam After Switching to Free-To-Play Model


PUBG: Battlegrounds, also known as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Battlegrounds, is officially free-to-play. Developer Krafton launched the previously announced free-to-play update on January 12, 2022 for all supported platforms. This drastic change skyrocketed its Steam player count to about double its former average weekly peak in the past 48 hours.

According to SteamDB, the average peak used to be about 300,000. As of yesterday, the number surpassed 600,000 players twice as a daily peak during prime playtime hours. PUBG is currently the third most popular game on Steam in terms of player count, just below Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2.

Now Playing: PUBG Free To Play Launch Trailer

Official stats from the Steam website currently list the PUBG player count around 418,090, though the peak player count for today already hit 625,564. These numbers shoot way above the fourth-place game, Apex Legends, and rival the numbers for the second-place game, Dota 2.

PUBG isn’t the first competitive multiplayer to switch from a paid to free-to-play model. Rocket League made the switch last year and received similar results, including more viewership for its esports league. Of course, the game isn’t completely free, as you can choose to pay for Battlegrounds Plus. Still, the existence of a free membership tier has been enough to influence numbers.

Those interested in playing PUBG for free can download it for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia.

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