Can PlayStation 4 Inject New Life into PUBG?
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

What a bizarre question to even ask, right? Not long ago, headlines were dominated by PUBG and its ludicrous, record breaking heights. But once Fortnite happened, the landscape changed, and PUBG lost its spotlight. Then PUBG came to consoles as a times Xbox One exclusive, and we know how that story goes. As successful as the Xbox One is, it is not a dominating part of the console gaming conversation. Meanwhile, not landing on the PS4 during the high point of its popularity is often looked back on as damning. But, based on leaks and events of that nature, PUBG is all but confirmed to be landing on PS4 soon. So, will that be enough to kickstart the PUBG conversation, or is Fortnite going to continue casting its enormous shadow?

It cannot be understated how powerful the PlayStation 4 install base is. The sheer numbers alone make things come out on top nearly by default. Recent analysis from game subscription platforms, for example, showed the underwhelming PlayStation Now service making over fifty percent of the overall subscription gaming revenue. In fact, it made around triple what the much more marketable and fan-loved Xbox Game Pass did. It’s all a numbers game. There are just that many more people hanging out in PlayStation territory.

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Microsoft is doing what it can to make PUBG a big deal for Xbox. At the recent X018 event at Mexico, Microsoft announced PUBG will be coming to the aforementioned Xbox Game Pass. If this game just launches on PlayStation 4 without bells or whistles, Microsoft will be able to say, “well, it’s free here.” But what if PUBG is a PlayStation Plus freebie, or what if Sony tosses out some money for platform-exclusive content? In terms of numbers, it almost feels like an inevitable wash.

But it’s not just about numbers. It’s about the conversation, the mindshare, the cultural impact. If people are playing PUBG on PlayStation 4, the developer is going to care more about how many people are actively talking about it, and sticking around (and buying keys for loot boxes, naturally). That’s the kind of power Fortnite has now.

And speaking of Fortnite, that game remains a big deal. PUBG recently revealed some wacky Suicide Squad skins for The Joker and Harley Quinn, and not long after Epic Games announced Fortnite got a hole of the NFL license to sell in-game content based on various teams. That’s huge. That’s mass market stuff. What if Epic Games gets a wild hair and does something crazy with Fortnite around the time PUBG launches for PlayStation 4? It could be hugely detrimental for that launch.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

All that said, PUBG, despite not being at the level it was during its recent glory days, is still big. It still has a huge fanbase and people who still play it on the reg. In no way are we talking about a life or death situation for the tip of the Battle Royale phenomenon spear. But it could be too little too late for a PlayStation 4 launch, something we’ve seen happen in the past for games like Rise of the Tomb Raider. It’s just as likely people who’ve wanted to play PUBG already have or do for the most part on PC, and a $29.99 entry point when the alternatives are either free (FortniteH1Z1) or part of a bigger package (Call of Duty: Black Ops 4) might not do much to change that.

Ultimately, it’s always good for gamers and games to have more options. PUBG launching for another platform, especially one as loaded with users as the PlayStation 4, is far from a bad thing. But I wonder just how much of an impact it will make. What do you all think? Does PUBG have a spot on your to-do list ready to go for when it launches on PS4, or are you good on Battle Royale games already?

Lucas White
Lucas White
@HokutoNoRucas

Writing Team Lead
Date: 11/22/2018

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