PUBG’s move to free-to-play brings it back to the top of the Battle Royale charts

Summary: Earlier this year, PUBG parent Krafton Studios kept its word and brought the popular battle royale game into the free-to-play (F2P) arena completely. Prior to this transition, the game had to be purchased by players on PC and consoles. The move brought the PC and console versions in line with PUBG Mobile and followed several other popular battle royale-based games. It also gave the granddaddy of the BR genre a huge boost in active players and in-game transactions.

The transition to a free-to-play model has led to revival in the PUBG player base, showing an increase of over 480% within a week of the transition. The surge rivaled the game’s growth rate recorded during its initial release in 2017.

On Friday, Krafton released their latest income statement, which boasts impressive earnings and overall revenue growth. According to the report, PUBG’s parent company’s first-quarter revenue grew by more than $400 million, while operating income rose to $241.9 million. Earnings growth represents an increase of 37% over the previous year and a staggering 628% over the previous quarter.

Much of the resurgence in growth is due to the move to F2P, with data showing monthly active users (MAUs) roughly tripled from the previous year. The surge in user numbers and revenue is directly related to the company’s reduction in operating expense requirements and the elimination of inventory-related costs impacting bottom line budget revenue.

According to the report, 95% of new revenue in 2022 came from international markets outside of South Korea. PUBG Mobile has also shown significant growth, recording a dramatic increase in downloads and a $307 million increase in revenue during the same reporting period.

Like other battle royale games, PUBG is no longer dependent on software licensing costs from PC and console players, but instead all in-game purchases are used to generate revenue. This move levels the playing field with other popular free games like Apex Legends, fortniteand war zoneall of which generate revenue through in-game content purchases, skins, and other cosmetic features, allowing players to set themselves apart from the millions of other players looking to win.

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