If you don’t at least know what PUBG is at this point, and you are a PC gamer, you may need to check that you do not live under a rock. It’s the latest Twitch phenomenon that’s taken Steam by storm, amassing a higher concurrent player count than both Counter Strike: Global Operations and DOTA 2. It’s a battle royale multiplayer shooter that’s easy to play, hard to master, and addictive as all hell. But I think that PUBG is going to go far past just being a good game. I think that this is just the beginning of the wave of influence that PUBG is going to have on the gaming industry for years to come.
What Makes PUBG a Trendsetter?
At its core, PUBG shares characteristics with other trendsetting titles such as Minecraft and Day-Z in that I can’t help but think it’s hit on that magical formula of successful games past. All of them are indie titles released through Early Access (although Day-Z is an exception to this, released as a buggy mod, so close enough), that then blew up on streaming sites and Youtube. These titles all then gained massive popularity themselves, and with those explosions sent ripples throughout the gaming industry.
Just think about the countless games that can be seen as Minecraft related in some way. It was the start of the survival-crafting genre as we know it and spawned hundreds of games riddled with its influence. Immediately games like Fortress Craft and Terraria began to pop up, some of which floundered while others prospered.
|It's like if Wii user avatars and Minecraft had a mutant monster baby.|
I see PUBG going down the same road, creating spin-offs both good and bad, making its own ripples throughout the industry. What’s crazy is you can already see this in effect in Fortnite’s own battle royale game. Which some are calling “Fortnite’s PUBG mode,” of course. But it’s a big pin for PUBG to be able to put on its chest, having a game created by Epic, a triple-A developer, inspired by your game. Even if it does end up causing a bunch of drama.
A Cash Cow Waiting to Happen
So brace yourself folks, I’m gonna throw some numbers at you. And keep in mind, these are all at time of writing. PUBG’s total viewers on Twitch: 118,534. Total followers of C9 Shroud, PUBG’s top streamer: 1,430,476. Shroud’s channel’s total views is well over 50,000,000. To put that all in perspective, Shroud's channel is currently rank 12 on Twitch, firmly entrenching him as one of Twitch's current, top streamers.
It’s such a profitable game that streamers are already able to make a living off of it. Not to mention that PUBG is also emerging into the competetive scene, with the last competition happening at Gamescom 2017 in Cologne, Germany. That’s one of the differences between PUBG and its fellow trendsetters that gives it a further potential for success. PUBG is becoming a competitive game. That extends its life and its viewership, along with all the aforementioned goodies that can come to those who make a living from that viewership. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see PUBG more in the future at other gaming expos and competitive events.
|Having plenty of multiplayer modes seems to be one of the new business models of the gaming industry.|
PUBG’s second distinct feature is something that’s managed to put a bad taste in my mouth every time I see it: lootboxes. The console/pc game equivalent of mobile games like Dungeon Keeper that force players to wait to get what they want out of a game, unless they’re willing to pay extra. Although, lootboxes don’t exactly adhere to the same rules as mobile gaming, since they’re totally random and in most cases will drop duplicates of whatever you’re trying to get (looking at you Overwatch). I approach lootboxes in PUBG with caution, but thankfully they’re not necessary to the core of the game.
Finally, PUBG is part of the phenomena that comes with lootcrates and Steam items: a gambling community. Sites like PUBGBets and PUBGJackpot mimic the CS:GO item gamblers experience, and hook players in just the same. Personally, I’ve never liked item gambling in games. Whenever it becomes prevalent, developers cheapen their games by catering to their gambling market. If you need an example of that, look no further than Valve and CS:GO. I mean, glove skins? Really?
|Seriously, who is willing to pay over $1,000 just for a school uniform in a game?|
Clearing The Air
I feel like I should say this article isn’t meant to be a testament to PUBG’s greatness. Do I love the game? Well, yeah. It’s genuinely fantastic and I probably (definitely) spend way too much time playing it. What I mean to do is point out the change that PUBG means for the gaming community, for the community that we are all a part of, as it changes the gaming industry as a whole.
Here’s hoping that Bluehole Inc., PUBG’s developers, understand the kind of weight they can throw around and are responsible with it. I hope they focus on fixing the game first rather than add new loot boxes and listening to their enormous, loving community. PUBG has an opportunity to set a positive influence on the gaming industry, and I hope they take it.