Battlegrounds is Now Officially Free to Play

PUBG: Battlegrounds, formerly known as PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, is one of the most popular games in the world. Seen as the first battle royale game to define the market, PUBG: Battlegrounds reached millions of players. Its success has led to PUBG becoming a multi-game franchise, including spin-offs like the upcoming sci-fi horror game The Callisto Protocol. PUBG: Battlegrounds has managed all of this while still being a premium title, but PUBG Corp. is now ready to remove that final barrier.

On paper, PUBG: Battlegrounds has no need to go free-to-play, but PUBG Corp. clearly believes that the positives of that transition now outweigh the negatives. Players on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox platforms are now able to play PUBG: Battlegrounds for free and will be able to do so going forward in perpetuity. The shift comes alongside the release of PUBG: Battlegrounds' 15.2 update, which also adds the Tactical Gear feature, as well other additions including Basic Training, improved in-game ping markers, and more.

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PUBG Corp. is also making an effort to reward players who purchase PUBG: Battlegrounds for a premium price. Past players will be automatically upgraded to the BATTLEGROUNDS Plus account tier, which rewards 1,300 G-Coins, a 100% boost to Survival Mastery XP, Ranked Mode access, Custom Match functionality, and other exclusive features. They'll also be given the Battle-Hardened costume skin set, the Shackle and Shanks Legacy Pan, and the Battle-Hardened Legacy nameplate.

Free-to-play PUBG: Battlegrounds players will be able to upgrade to the BATTLEGROUNDS Plus tier of account for $12.99, a premium charge that serves multiple purposes. For one, it continues to reward players who have previously purchased PUBG: Battlegrounds. But perhaps the most important reason is it preserves PUBG: Battlegrounds' ranked environment. Cheaters, for example, won't be able to repeatedly make new free-to-play accounts in order to dominate ranked ladders, or at least won't be able to without continuing to pay a price.

There are, understandably, frustrations with the decision. While PUBG Corp. has preserved the Ranked ladder for PUBG: Battlegrounds via the premium BATTLEGROUNDS Plus surcharge, the non-ranked queues have no such protections. Cheaters will be able to find ways to create new accounts after being banned, to the dismay of other free-to-play players who don't have access to the walled garden of ranked play.

Regardless, the perks of a free-to-play PUBG: Battlegrounds should be clear to all players. A wave of new players should reinvigorate the community and ensure PUBG: Battlegrounds is around for a long time to come. Steam tracking of concurrent players has already shown numbers double. With free-to-play becoming default for the battle royale genre, even PUBG: Battlegrounds has to ensure it's doing what's best for the series' future.

PUBG: Battlegrounds is available now on Mobile, PC, PS4, Stadia, and Xbox One.

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