Online battle royale shooter PUBG: Battlegrounds has now gone free to play, nearly five years after its initial release. The developer announced that the switch would be coming soon at the Game Awards late last year, but it was not until this week that the changes took effect.
PUBG is widely credited with being the catalyst that kicked off the trend of online battle royale games, among which was the wildly successful Fortnite. Where PUBG differed from many of its free-to-play (F2P) successors, however, was that the game was a payment-upfront title. As a result, it was easy to see why subsequent releases of free titles like Fortnite or Apex Legends were able to dig into the established player base of PUBG.
Now, the developers are working to recover some of those players, and attract new ones, by making the game completely free to play. The change, which affects all platforms, came into effect on 12th January.
To compensate people who have already paid for the game, all such players will automatically receive a commemorative pack. This includes a variety of in-game rewards, such as new skins, as well as a free upgrade to Battlegrounds Plus. All rewards and instructions on how to claim them can be found on the game’s official website.
Alongside the F2P change, the update also introduces the new Plus system. This presents additional content to players, but also offers a replacement revenue stream for the developers. It is a one-time purchase, rather than a subscription, priced at $12.99 USD. With it, players will unlock access to ranked and custom matches, as well as an experience points boost. The pack will also include a range of cosmetic items.