PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds struggles with rapid growth and microtransactions backlash

With its domination over Steam and 10 million units sold, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has the industry’s direct and rapt attention. But this immense success hasn’t come without obstacles, particularly as the studio attempts to expand and wrangle a monster success.

“The biggest problem we’re having at the moment is the server platform, because we’re trying to develop it on a production system, which is super hard because you’ve got millions of players — literally millions — coming through the doors every day,” said Bluehole Creative Director Brendan Green.

The early access shooter has also seen stiff backlash due to its decision to introduce microtransactions into the testing process. While Green said that the percentage of players expressing dissatisfaction is relatively small, it has still led to a review bombing campaign on Steam.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is adding a new foggy map variant soon. “Some of the key features of the new build include a new weapon, foggy weather condition, FPP leaderboards, and multiple bug fixes,” the studio tweeted.

Source: Games Industry, VG247, Rock Paper Shotgun. Cheers to everyone who sent these in!
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22 Comments on "PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds struggles with rapid growth and microtransactions backlash"

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Ray Stewart

Early access AND micro transactions, i will avoid this game like the plague.

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Wesley Hendriks

edit: accidentally placed a comment, please ignore this.

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kidwithknife

I don’t play PLUBG so I don’t have an opinion on the game, but review bombing of pretty much any game is a pointless and stupid thing that should not be respected or taken seriously. That’s even true in a game like this one that is B2P; in a world where some players will pay thousands of real world dollars for a ship in the still-unreleased Star Citizen or a house in an early access MMORPG, does any rational person seriously believe there aren’t people who buy copies of games just to review bomb or to enable others to review bomb? It’s the internet in 2017, it’s not always a very nice or very smart place.

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kgptzac

There is still no correlation between people buy into Star Citizen and pay for extra copies of PUBG for the sole purpose of review bombing the game. It’s also not pointless to have a game review bombed; see GTAV.

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Robert Mann

Steam review bombing indicates a lot of people with low hours just acting to attack the developer unreasonably.

A quick look shows that the vast majority of recent negatives are from 60-200 hours. Most of them are upset for either the microtransactions or the streamer bans. Some are upset about both. Of the first 50 negative reviews I looked at, 3 were under 60 hours, and of those only 1 was under 10 hours.

I therefore submit that we cannot call that review bombing. It seems like legitimate complaints by people who otherwise like the game, but are really upset about some not so cool things going on.

April-Rain
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April-Rain

The backlash is more down to streamers getting people banned for stream sniping more than microtransactions, and if people thought this game would not have the latter they are fools, it’s bluehole studio’s for crying out loud.

And on the nasty bans for so called stream sniping, what a load of **** people should not play it just for that reason.

Dev’s should be ashamed and embarrassed at such actions.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

“if people thought this game would not have the latter they are fools, it’s bluehole studio’s for crying out loud.”

People *are* fools. They buy EA titles and complain that they’re “unfinished” (specifically when Early Access is for finishing titles and further development). PC players always have a group that complains heavily about microtransactions, always.

If a title on Steam is free to play especially, people will snag it just to review bomb it because it has microtransactions without caring about anything else. They don’t know about the game they just get it to down vote it, even if they end up enjoying it – because they think they’re fighting against microtransactions.

They buy a game that tells them from the start it has microtransactions and they still complain non stop about them.

A great mass of people absolutely are fools – and yet they are the people that go around review bombing and making things look different than they really are.

That all said – you are right that a lot of the negative reviews are because of the Devs banning people for various reasons. There are a lot about the microtransactions, but a good deal complaining about being banned and things for people claiming Steamer harassment or other things.

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Richie K

“While Green said that the percentage of players expressing dissatisfaction is relatively small, it has still led to a review bombing campaign on Steam.”
Apparently the percentage of players expressing dissatisfaction is not as small as he is claiming as steam reviews are at mixed.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

That isn’t true. The percentage of people that are happy and playing is very high. The percentage of people who go and actually write reviews is very low to begin with. When the people who dislike microtransactions all get together to review bomb the game, while those happy with it just keep playing and don’t write up a review one way or another, that is a small percentage of the players complaining despite the reviews themselves listing as “mixed”.

In general on Steam the majority of happy people just happily play. The majority of disgruntled people go and write reviews.

Games with microtransactions and free to play games with microtransactions especially on Steam have lopsided reviews compared to the actual numbers of happy people playing the game.

A *very* common thing on Steam is to see someone write a negative review while their game play hours keep climbing by huge amounts each week. They think they’re holding the company hostage to change something by placing a negative review while actually enjoying and playing the game. This happens a crazy amount, if you watch the negative reviews and time played and watch that time continue and continue to grow.

There are games that correctly reflect the majority of reviewers writings, but numerous games with microtransactions (loot boxes specifically) aren’t usually reflected well. Free to play games especially do not reflect the correct feelings of most players, but this one doesn’t fall into that category.

Although like the above poster wrote, a lot of current negative reviews are about the Devs and banning really.

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agemyth 😩

~31% of recent reviews (1% away from “mostly positive”) makes a few thousand recent negative reviews out 10+ million players.

Review bombing is also a bandwagon phenomenon that people jump in on for little to no reason at times just for the “lulz”. The Steam reviews that surface for me are usually written by garbage people/children. Even the positive ones.

Popularity doesn’t mean something is good, but when a vocal minority cries out for attention that doesn’t suddenly mean they are representative of a good chunk of the playerbase. A lot of the reviews aren’t about the game itself but what some people believe about their policies with streamers and what is or is not temporary bannable offenses.

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Sally Bowls

But Math. Random polling 3k out of a 10M population has a margin of error of a couple of per cent. Polsters predict elections with 100M voters from a sample of a thousand. A few thousand randomly selected reviews is more than enough; the thousand is not the problem.

Of course, surveys with self-selected participants tend to be pretty worthless.

presbytier
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presbytier

Steam reviews work differently now remember. The mixed reviews is based on recent review tallies from the last week or so not overall reviews. Overall reviews still show mostly positive. Steams new review system is a bit weird.

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Richie K

Which came about due to the addition of microtransactions right? The way this guy words make it sound like its ok because only a few people are complaining about it.

presbytier
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presbytier

It is still a pretty small number of total reviews, so yeah he is technically correct in saying only a small number of people are

    publicly

complaining.

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Robert Mann

Actually, looks like a mix of them and bans from ‘streamer complaints.’ Which, well, is difficult to prove on either side without evidence.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

These numbers blow me away. i can’t imagine the piles of cash they are rolling around in and the ‘headaches’ that aren’t really headaches with the servers when you realize it just means more piles of cash.

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Armsbend

$30 x 10,000,000 = $300,000,000 – costs.

There. Now you don’t have to imagine any longer.

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shear

To think that steam takes 30%, and all they did was provide a platform. Steam is the real winner :D

Siphaed
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Siphaed

Platform for launch, expanded advertising space on the front page of a widely used service, social interaction tools, …mmm, Steam basically is the same thing as a record label, but taking far less than they usually do (according to the “poor singers” who cannot afford more than 1 private jet).

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

also, the zeitgeist of the copycats hasn’t really even started yet.

On an MMO note, Guild Wars 2 did this with their beta–it had a battle royale mode–and it was awesome. they should bring it back.

kalamari_
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kalamari_

its a mini game in GW2 for quite some time now.

presbytier
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presbytier

I’d point out the fact it is still an “Early Access” game selling like it is the next GTA or COD. I can imagine getting more servers for a production environment has to be bewilderingly tough. The copycats are going to be horrible and I am worried this will push big publishers and studios into adopting the “Early Access” model. Imagine selling ten million units and then still having the ability to tell anyone complaining about bugs or instability that it is still a beta.

wpDiscuz