PUBG: Battlegrounds more than doubles its average concurrent player count after going free-to-play

Free is the best price, after all.

Image via Krafton

As of January 12, 2022, PUBG: Battlegrounds is a free-to-play game. The change gave the battle royale game a massive spike, doubling its average concurrent player count the day it made the change.

The numbers come from SteamDB, which is frequently used to measure the popularity of games on Steam. Until January 12, PUBG’s average concurrent count was around 300,000 players. The day it changed to a free-to-play title, that average skyrocketed to just over 625,000 — that’s more than double.

While it remains to be seen if the strategy will continue to pay off for developer Krafton, the spike is still noteworthy. Krafton CEO CH Kim previously said that the shift was intended to “welcome new players” to the game. We can’t say for certain how many of those 625,000 players are newcomers, but the numbers still paint a picture of lots of people engaging with PUBG. Additionally, creative director David Curd stated that the change wasn’t because of Fortnite, Apex Legends, or Call of Duty: Warzone. “We feel that it is truly the right time,” Curd said. Given the player spike, that feeling seems to have been proven true.

The free-to-play update is just one of many in PUBG’s history. The November content update added a smoke grenade launcher and chickens that give away player positions with their clucks. Expect to see even more content come to the game in the future to keep pulling players into the newly free-to-play title.