The PUBG player count has practically doubled overnight. The reason why is simple: the PUBG free-to-play release has proven to be immensely popular.
PUBG is inarguably one of the games that started the modern Battle Royale craze, but it hasn't enjoyed the same level of success as its contemporaries in recent years. Although it's sold well over 70 million units, the game's original creator Brendan Green has left to start his own company and the PUBG player count has remained relatively stagnant over the last year (at least on Steam).
That was primed to change when PUBG announced that it was going free-to-play last month. That day has finally arrived, and it shows -- the PUBG player count has practically doubled overnight.
The PUBG Player Count Grows, But Will It Last?
As Steam Charts shows (via Reddit), the PUBG player count on Steam jumped from a peak of 363,839 yesterday to a peak of 667,399 players – an 83.4% increase in a single day. The reason for this spike is surely due to the recent PUBG free-to-play release.
Interestingly, the devs hosted a free-to-play event back in August 2021 that barely moved the needle on the player numbers. It seems that the full free-to-play release has caused a much greater level of curiosity in players -- especially with the knowledge that they won't have to buy the game after a free weekend ends. It should be noted, however, that the free-to-play version cannot access Ranked Play; that requires a $12.99 one-time purchase.
The higher PUBG player count has also led to a spike in Steam reviews, roughly 3,000 of which are positive and 4,000 of which are negative. Recent reviews prior to the free-to-play release have been slightly more positive than not, so it seems that there is some pessimism over the free-to-play launch either from prior players or new players not finding it quite their cup of tea.
The greater game population is certainly impressive, but the one big question is this: can PUBG sustain these player numbers in the long term? Having nearly 700,000 players on Steam is impressive, but it pales in comparison to the game's all-time peak of 3,236,027 players back in December 2017. Now, it's up to the devs to continue delivering a compelling experience. You can play PUBG for free on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Google Stadia via its official website.
What do you think of the PUBG free-to-play release? Do you think this will cause a permanent growth in player count? Let us know in the comments below!