Predicting the level of success enjoyed by PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, aka PUBG, would have been very tough ahead of its launch. Who could really predict that an indie title would have three million concurrent players mere months after its launch? Since that time, the game has added two new maps, alternating modes, and more aesthetic enhancements than you can shake a frying pan at.
Unfortunately for developer PUBG Corporation, the game has been on the decline ever since the start of the year, despite the team rolling out of the new maps and mechanics. The website Steam Charts shows that in January, the game hit its absolute peak concurrent players, at 3.2 million, a massive gain of 100% versus September four months prior. However, that trend did not continue.
Since January, the game has been losing players each and every month, and while that's largely to be expected of a game that grew in popularity so quickly, it has to rub PUBG's devs the wrong way, as Epic's Fortnite continues to grow, generating more than a quarter billion dollars for the company every month, at the current time. It's staggering to think about, especially for another game that hasn't even been available in market for all too long.
At this point, for PUBG, it seems likely that this downward trend is going to continue for a time, but that doesn't mean it won't increase again at some point in the future. This past week, the game's developers emulated Fortnite's Battle Pass to release their own "Event Pass". Like the Battle Pass, PUBG's solution allows you to earn exclusive aesthetics gear - gear which improves the more you "level" the pass.
Since its announcement, many PUBG fans have complained about this pass, as it does not last as long as Fortnite's battle pass (1 month vs. 4), although it's not entirely clear if we'll see an Event Pass each and every month. The first one available coincides with the Sanhok map release, so it could be that we'll only see a handful of passes each year.
Either way, PUBG's devs need to start listening to its playerbase, if they want to secure its future in the battle royale game genre. It may have spearheaded the latest take on the format, but as we've seen from the likes of Fortnite, the competition can be absolutely ruthless, just like its namesake play style.