On August 3rd Player Playerunknown's Battlegrounds will receive a new patch that brings quite a few fixes and some long-awaited features like first person server options and an FOV slider. The more interesting part of the patch introduces a crate key system PUBG plans to test out through Gamescom this year as they want to see how it will do/work once the game is out of early access.
The patch introduces three new crates to the game, all of which contain items inspired by the film Battle Royale. The Wanderer Crate and Survivor Crate will be free to open, but the third, the Gamescom Invitational Crate, will require a key to open. These can only be acquired by purchasing it for $2.50. Each crate will take one key to open, but for the $2.50 you can open the crate with "the most diverse pool of themed clothing" according to the announcement.
The Gamescom Invitational Crate will only be available from August 3rd through August 27th once Gamescom is over. The crate is tied in directly with the first offline Invitational for PUBG taking place August 23 – 26 at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. The Gamescom Playerunknown's Battlegrounds Invitational features 80 of the best PUBG players in the world and Gamescom attendees have the chance to participate as well, as daily qualifiers will be held.
The proceeds from the Gamescom Invitational Crate will be used to provide funds for organizing the event, provide the prize pool for the winners of the event, and to support a selection of charities. The announcement did not list which charities would be supported but that they would be selected by PUBG developer Bluehole.
Interestingly, the announcement for the tournament already says that the prize pool will have a total value of $350,000. It's unclear whether that may increase or change depending on the sales from the Gamescom Invitational Crate keys. We have reached out for clarification.
The announcement states that the Gamescom Invitational Crate and Key system is only a test for what PUBG will be using once it is out of early access. Back in a FAQ posted June 7, it states that PUBG will not have microtransactions while in early access and only once it is a full release. Because it is not permanent one may argue that PUBG is keeping their promise, but others may not be as forgiving.
The announcement is pretty fresh and PUBG has seen some backlash from it already. Many in the gaming community feel strongly on microtransactions in general, and when a game breaks their word, it can cause quite the uproar, especially with a game as popular as this.
According to the developer, they have sold over 6 million copies of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds since launch on PC and Xbox One. Additionally, they have had a peak concurrent users of 422,618 on Steam, one of the highest totals on the platform, bypassing numerous higher budget titles. The numbers would be staggering for any game, but it's a lot more impressive here considering the game only launched in early access on March 23rd.
We have reached out for some clarification and will update this article if we receive word back.
What do you think of the Gamescom Invitational Crate? Do you plan on purchasing keys for it? Let us know in the comments below!