It’s hard to ignore PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds at the moment. The Early Access title, which launched in March this year, has sold over 8 million units. It is also, according to a tweet from the developer, the game with the highest player count on Steam that isn’t developed by Valve.
Speaking on the Xbox gamescom stream last night, Brendan Greene, a.k.a. PlayerUnknown himself talked about the game and the success of the game. Asked by host Julia Hardy if he can even process that number of sales, Greene replied, "No. And it’s good that we don’t process it. It keeps us focused on development."
When asked about what it is that has made the game so popular, Greene said, "Not sure. Honestly, I think it’s like the idea that it’s a very basic game – land, loot, survive. Everyone can understand that and I think that’s what the draw is. There are no rules, there no ‘you have to play this way’, you can jump in and play and if you want to hit someone with a pan, you go right ahead."
The game is due for release on Xbox One as part of the Game Preview program in late 2017, however, the developer Bluehole Studios, released a rather confusing statement via the Xbox News Wire about exclusivity for the game on console.
The developer is has expanded its partnership with Microsoft to include publishing. "By partnering with Microsoft, our team believes that we will be able to accelerate console development, while maintaining quality across all platforms, as well as giving us access to vast sales, marketing and publishing resources that will help us reach new fans to welcome to the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds universe," said VP of Bluehole, Inc., Chang Han Kim
"We are excited to continue and further strengthen our partnership with Microsoft and are super excited to meet the Xbox community. We will be launching exclusively on Xbox One in the Xbox Game Preview program later this year and we can’t wait to see all the Xbox fans on the battlefield."
This has spawned confusion amongst the industry as to the retail status of the game. Is this now a Xbox console exclusive? A timed exclusive like Square Enix’s Rise of the Tomb Raider was, or will Microsoft be releasing this at retail as well as online? The statement certainly wasn’t clear, but hopefully, we’ll found out more come the end of the year when the game releases.