It's no secret that PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is a success story. What was once an unknown (no pun intended) early access title, has become a worldwide phenomenon. The game is available on the PC, Xbox One, and even mobile devices. Probably most impressive is how PUBG started an industry-wide trend towards battle royale games. If you hadn't heard of the mode before, you certainly have now. Am I right? All of this success hasn't come without a few missteps here and there. One step that developer PUBG Corp has taken seems particularly damning. Custom matches will be available in the game, but most likely not for free.
PUBG custom matches give players the option to change “circle behavior, item/vehicle spawn rates, loadouts and more." These custom matches will be playable with any number of friends in private or publicly with the entire PUBG player base. They will even include War and Zombie Mode options. It should offer many ways for everyone to go beyond vanilla PUBG. However, in the same announcement which lauded all of the awesome options, the PUBG team stated that the cost behind it might force them to charge. They did say that they “may” change it, so there is a chance it could be free, but even hinting at a price tag is a bit of a fire starter.
In 2017, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds made over $700 million. It sort of makes the company look bad to say a certain service they want to offer would require more money to support it. According to this, PUBG Corp should not be hurting for cash. I'd hope that most everyone at the company is being paid a fair wage for the work that they're putting into the game, and sure there are significant costs in hosting servers and keeping PUBG running well. But even with all that in mind, I imagine a significant amount of money would be left over. One would think there might be enough to run custom matches for players for free.
Taking the financial aspect out of the picture for a second, it is still unfortunate unfortunate. Imagine buying a first or third-person shooter that you're really excited about. It may have a fun campaign, great online game modes, and be generally ntertaining. But then, you're hit with a paywall. No one likes running into those, as it halts your progress. If imagine custom matches as being the option behind the paywall, it becomes a little hard to believe. Who would charge for the opportunity to dictate what happens in a match being run? That's a feature that has always just been a given in most online shooters. You get to play it as the developers intended, and then you get to mess around with the settings for whole new challenges.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has done very well so far. It even made it to the fifth best-selling video game. Yet simple mistakes like putting a basic feature behind a paywall can lead a game to an early grave. I can't really see myself paying for something that I consider to be a standard option, and I'm willing to be plenty of others will feel the same way.
What are your thoughts? Would you pay more for custom matches to support the PUBG team? Or do you think it should be free?