A new update due for release on August 3rd for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will add microtransactions to the Early Access rendition of the game, despite the fact that the developers said that they wouldn’t do so while the game was in Early Access.
TechRaptor picked up the news from a Steam Community update that Bluehole Studios rolled out on the store page. The update confirms that there will be three new loot crates added to the game containing items, clothing apparel and accessories themed after the movie Battle Royale, but only two of the three crates will be obtainable for free. The third crate will require a paid key that sells for $2.50.
Some fans of the game defended the action, claiming that the developers working on the DLC and microtransactions likely aren’t the same who work on bug fixes and adding new content to the game and that the devs need some sort of extra revenue streams to continue development.
Steam user MarioAda retorted against the fanboys by linking to various outlets where it’s pretty much on record that the developers have said they would wait until after Early Access to pursue microtransactions. In the game’s FAQ on the Gamepedia page, it states…
“What were planning to do, is to add purchasable cosmetic items (like clothes/skins) via crates, this will allow us to create free DLC packs down the road.” Microtransactions are coming after Early Access.”
Back in May, Brendan Greene, the creative lead behind Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, spoke with Gamasutra reiterating what was mentioned in the FAQ… that they wouldn’t be monetizing the game with microtransactions during Early Access…
“We’re not doing monetization during early access, it’ll be afterwards. So we’ll have keys to open crates to make it simple. But we’ll also try to have rarity, so by opening a crate you can get a skin that’s worth £10 or $20,” […]
“I don’t want to encourage gambling. I’m very happy now Steam has put it in their terms that ‘you cannot use this for gambling,’ but I still believe the skin economy is a good thing to have in a game. Because it’s monetization for us, but it also creates an economy for clothing items.”
Some gamers on the Reddit thread were forgiving of this, claiming that the microtransaction revenue funds a tournament at GamesCom, and so long as microtransactions are being used to build an e-sports community, they’re okay with that.
Spacrypt for instance, justified the microtransactions, writing…
“Yes it’s sold well, but they need to support this game for years to come and the sales will die down over time. They also want to actually make money and funnily enough throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars is not how to do it.
“TLDR: It’s the best business model they can use (one you don’t need to bother with if you don’t want to) and it’s being used to fund an event. It’s no big deal.”
It’s this very attitude that also led to disc-locked content in full priced games, true endings being locked behind DLC, and microtransactions in $60 games. Many players and fans are sometimes willing to support tactics that eventually have long-term detrimental effects on the game than to stand up against those practices.
In this case, we’ll see how well the microtransactions go down in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds starting August 3rd.