The Tragedy of PUBG

Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds is probably the biggest sleeper hit in video game history. The gaming community was slapped in the face with a cold, hard, frying pan and awoke to find something incredible… An addicting, fresh new take on Battle Royale gameplay! A genre that for all intents and purposes was basically dead outside of Arma 2 & Minecraft, (if you would even put Minecraft in that category.)

With millions of sales, a full release and port to the Xbox, thousands of dedicated streamers and millions of passionate fans engaging with this game that came out of NOWHERE! PUBG was simply a dream come true for the developer, Bluehole! The game’s success is something every indie developer fantasizes about. Being part of a small team, working tirelessly to get something out there that brings you some modicum – some notion of success in a heavily competitive and saturated market dominated by big whig publishers. And being able to find a place amongst all the noise, the good, the bad, the great, and the sh*t. What Indie Developer doesn’t want that? I mean, when has an unfinished game ever won the “Best Multiplayer Game award?” Or been nominated for several other categories at the Game Awards?

Or gotten over 30 million sales? Or broken steam records for most concurrent players? I don’t think an unfinished, alpha-access indie game has ever done ANY of those things! It was clear early on that PUBG would be a runaway hit, but it wasn’t clear where the game would settle down on the scale. That was yet to be determined… But even people like me who weren’t huge fans of the game or the Battle Royale genre, we were all sitting on the sidelines cheering the PUBG Corporation on! “Go get em, tiger!

Stick it to those fat cigar-smoking cats and show em whose boss!” It was a time of excitement, new things, new ideas and the potential to grow beyond their wildest dreams. Little did any of us expect, that Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds would soon start on the path to tragedy… Now, I can’t begin to truly understand game development from the indie perspective and as a gaming community I think we’ve all got mad respect for what PUBG accomplished. It’s like being an undrafted rookie who signs with the 0-16 Browns in the offseason, and then leads the team to a perfect season and wins the Superbowl. It’s-it’s just unreal! What they’ve done, is amazing.

And trust me, I understand that as a business you gotta make money, go out and get what you’re worth. Reach for the stars and settle for nothing but you’re best. But there’s so many things about this game and the conduct of it’s developers since it’s rise to fame that raises so many red flags. And look, I get it, people don’t like hearing negative things about the games they love or the people that make them, but it’s necessary. You need to know which developers have converted to the Church of EA so you can be aware of this sh*t. And one last thing, I’m not knocking the game at it’s core. What I’m going to knock, is the conduct of the developers, what they’ve done since they got that huge wave of sales, press and all that good stuff.

I will also say that some of this stuff has happened in the past and might not be as relevant currently, but I feel like it’s important to discuss these things either way. So first off, when something becomes super popular in such a short amount of time, naturally other people and companies will want to mooch off that success and try to replicate it. It’s no secret that Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode spawned because of PUBG. But what this?

Bluehole threatened legal action against Fortnite and it’s devs? They claim they’re concerned “that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known for.” And they did this at a press conference! They-they publicly threatened legal action? Aren’t you supposed to keep that sh*t behind closed doors and like, talk it out with lawyers?

So that the gaming community doesn’t hear about this and start questioning what your motives are and what you’re doing? What were you trying to prove with this? I’ll tell you what these actions say to me. It says Bluehole doesn’t want any competition, and they want to smear Fortnite because it’s similar. Well, that’s pretty sh*tty and unnecessary.

And nobodies denying that Fortnite battle royale took heavy inspiration from the game, but this is business. “It’s just good business…” There’s going to be competition. And it’s not just a blatant ripoff, it’s got a completely different art style, a completely different feel to it. I mean, what if iD Software threatened legal action against 3D realms back in the 90’s because “they were concerned that Duke Nukem 3D may be replicating the experience Doom is known for?” This is such a pig-headed, asshole-ish thing to say, you can pretty much use it trash anything that might be similar to something else. Let’s try it out some more! “We are concerned that Star Wars may be replicating the experiences for which Flash Gordon is known for.” “We are concerned that Sonic the Hedgehog may be replicating the experiences for which Mario is known for.” “We are concerned that Hitler may be replicating the experiences for which World War 1 is known for.” Can we please meme this statement?

Like – like come up with your own examples and post them in the comments. Back to the point, what would saying any of this have accomplished? They’re basically saying, any Battle Royale game that isn’t ours is sh*tty and unoriginal. It’s ripping us off and they owe us money. It just breeds animosity and skepticism about the intentions of a company. Makes you look petty and that you don’t understand how games inspire other games.

A Bluehole executive even said this, “now we’re starting to have concerns that they’re going to develop new features or improve something in the engine to support that battle royale gameplay, and then use it for their own game mode.” Oh no! Another company is trying to improve their product that’s similar to yours, while you’re busy making a half ass port to the Xbox, and implementing microtransactions in an early access game you’re charging people $30 for?? We can’t have that can we! You can clearly see how upset Bluehole was that other companies are making Battle Royale games and taking a small fraction of that spotlight away from them. Brendan Greene, Player Unknown himself said this, “I want this genre of games to grow,” but later says “Someone else takes the idea, has a marketing budget, and suddenly has a popular game because they ripped off someone else’s idea.

I think it’s something the industry needs to look into.” What the f*ck, dude?! You’re talking about a genre… a-a GENRE! If you wanna use that logic, PUBG ripped off the idea of Battle Royale from the movie… Battle Royale. This logic is so fundamentally broken at it’s core. It’s like, oh PUBG has the idea of shooting people with guns. Well, there were plenty of other games that had that idea so I guess the industry should look into the ideas that PUBG ripped off.

You know, Battle Royale, shooting people with guns because you know, other games are getting rich off of those ideas and you know, those all belong to PUBG and Bluehole! So stop whining, learn from the Fine Bros, and accept the fact that you can’t hold a monopoly on ideas or a genre. Now, if you were to gain massive critical and commercial success for an early access game, earning you hundreds of millions of dollars in half a year, what would be your next move? Maybe work on the horrible optimization? Increase the quality of graphics? Perhaps hire a bunch of new hands to improve the code?

PFFFFFT! Nah! Nah, what you’re supposed to do is rush to make the most god awful port of a video game to the Xbox One in order to meet Christmas sales and deadlines! Oh boy! It absolutely boggles the mind when you look at this, THIS! You know you f*cked up when Crowbcat uploads a video.

They released this on the Xbox One as early access. Like, they sold this on a disc! Look, Steam is one thing.

That’s a haven for all sorts of games finished and unfinished, but when your next move is to port the game to consoles, before it’s finished or even close to being ready, what does that say? People expect finished, functional products when they buy a console game. And this applies to Steam as well but I’m trying to point out that Steam has a lot of these Indie, you know, unfinished, early-access games. Way more than any console does. Now what does this decision say? Well it tells me your priorities at that moment, were to cash in on the success of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds as rapidly and in as many ways as possible, instead of using the hundreds of millions of dollars you’ve made to finish a goddamn early-access, indie game!

While these glitches and graphical atrocities may have been fixed in some degree, this is just unacceptable! This looks worse, then just about any game on the original Xbox. People are just walking through walls, it’s like no clip mode is on. What the hell is this, Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing?? And you sold this for 30 bucks?!? Not even the power of the Xbox One X can fix a game that’s not optimized properly.

Look, you made your money. Now it’s time to use that money to improve the quality of the experience. And don’t you all think it’s a telling sign of priorities when a game like this usurps Dota 2 as the most popular Steam game, and then somehow thinks it’s next move should be the introduction of microtransactions? Apparently 720 million dollars isn’t enough to develop a game and keep it running for a few years. And though the game STILL charges people $30 it’s got to have microtransactions now? Not just any microtransactions, randomized loot boxes!

Are you f*cking serious? So the excuse that they need money from loot boxes to pay for development or updates or anything, can’t even be made! This – this is pure, selfish, greed.

And there’s no real arguing that. If this game hadn’t made 720 million dollars, even if they needed microtransactions for further funding, why in f*cks name did they adopt the RNG loot box EA method of microtransactions? Well, because it’s the least player friendly, and makes the most money. But you might say, “Acting Mail Man!

It’s not pay-to-win! You can’t get weapons and whatnot. So it’s not as bad!” It’s not AS BAD… Yeah.

I-it’s not as bad as literally the WORST and most controversial, horrible microtransaction system ever implemented in video games. Yeah, it’s not as bad as THAT! Okay, that isn’t saying much at all. That’s like saying the pile of dog sh*t I just took a bite out of didn’t taste as bad as the piss-covered dog sh*t I just took a bite out of. Bluehole even promised they wouldn’t include cosmetic DLC or loot boxes, microtransactions, until after early access, until the game was done. But they just couldn’t f*cking wait!

Gotta get all the golden eggs you can before you kill the goose. Before all those loot box and gambling laws go through. They even said at one point that NONE of the crates would be free.

Yes, you would have to pay money to open ANY crates, to unlock customization stuff, you have to pay money. So even the argument that, “oh you can just unlock in the game,” That wasn’t even going to be a thing! All cosmetics would be locked behind RNG. What a huge middle finger, to have microtransactions in an early access game. “F*ck you!

And this wasn’t some type of simple, earn loot crates as you go, Overwatch-type system. No, they dived straight into the Activision, EA territory of over complicated, shady as f*ck number manipulation.

“We are looking at an artificially inflated market in which some of these items can cost an exorbitant amount. One glance at the Steam marketplace should tell you everything you need to know. Which shows that currently, the game’s rarest items cost over $1,800. Jesus f*ck! That is next level EA. I just can’t believe this sh*t happened to this game!

A game I was rooting for on the side. It’s funny, because the emphasis on unlocking cosmetic gear in this game is so ironic because the game is so poorly optimized it’s going to look like sh*t either way! There was a very detailed post on Reddit about all the math and all that stuff and I’ll put a link in the description if you’re curious.

And again, some of these things have changed or might change in the future, but it’s important to analyze these decisions. You know, it’s also a good sign when your game follows in the footsteps of CS:GO, where players are buying cosmetics and selling them for real world money. Cosmetics gotten from randomized loot crates… Yeah totally not going into the unregulated gambling scene at all, are we? Oh what’s this? Top 10 Best PUBG Gambling Sites.

Betting and Gambling Sites List. This is CS:GO Lotto all over again… I mean, might as well tap into the gambling stream of revenue since you need to milk this game at every conceivable angle. Then there’s all this other sh*t like Microsoft copying the PUBG themed Xbox design from a reddit post. The servers going down for the biggest video game convention in Italy, resulting in players being unable to start the official tournament. Yes, they were working to make PUBG an eSport before it was even finished. An eSport should not have to contend with rampant, bugs, glitches, and broken parts of the map.

The game isn’t competitive at it’s core, so much of it is RNG. Not only this, but for some reason when you top the charts of steam sales, you still need more money to fund these competitions. Why? “Bluehole Entertainment introduced these crates to fund the prize pool for a tournament it held at Gamescom. It’s an interesting motivation, especially since – to the studios credit – it donated excess funds to charity. Nonetheless, using a sleazy gambling-inspired blight of an economy to fund self-promoting contests at your audience’s expense isn’t exactly a noble f*cking cause.” It’s just like, there’s so many examples that just remind me of EA and Activision.

Milking your franchise, your game at every possible angle. Not working to improve the overall quality as a first priority, but trying to squeeze as much money as possible from this thing. It reminds me so much of EA and Activision and it’s a f*cking shame… PUBG was supposed to be the poster child, the example that inspires every Indie company and developer to shoot for the stars!

It wasn’t supposed to convert to the Church Of EA like this. Every turn they could’ve taken to earn respect and adoration from gamers, they took the wrong turn. Every gamer that’s passionate about this hobby, wanted to see PUBG do well, to shake up the system that’s become so repetitive and by the books, manufactured GARBAGE! Yet, it’s done the complete opposite, it’s become part of the system! And I’m not saying you should boycott this game, or do anything like that, take a shit on it. Nah nah nah, I’m just expressing my disappointment at what the developers and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds has become.

I’m no longer rooting for them to do well. Despite the influx of 720 million dollars and more, Bluehole needs more. They need more money for some reason. They need to have microtransactions that have certain items with a 0.01 percent drop rate.

They need to have a monopoly on the Battle Royale Genre, they need to threaten legal action against other developers who do what they’re doing but better. They need to port an even more broken, poorly optimizied, and dysfunctional version of the game to consoles to cash in on Christmas sales. They just need MORE. What they have gotten is not enough. Every single negative aspect surrounding PUBG, every controversy seems to have come as a result of the insatiable desire for more. MORE MONEY!

I’ve never seen a company or game go so bad so quickly as PUBG and Bluehole Corporation. From humble beginnings to unrelenting greed… That is the Tragedy of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. But what do you think?

Am I overreacting to all this stuff? Or is what I say pretty spot on? Did you get into PUBG or Fortnite and which game do you prefer? And why?