How Bluehole Can Save PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

At this point, very few people within the various communities of gaming need an explainer regarding the multiplayer phenomenon that is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Over the past eleven months, the survival title has broken numerous player and sales records, while consistently shocking and entertaining the internet with its onslaught of clips and GIFs that highlight the insanity of the hundred-player arena game. As developer Bluehole finally pushed PUBG out of early access at the end of last year, the most-played title for months on Steam has finally started to show some cracks in its armor, with Steam Charts reporting a loss of average players of over one hundred thousand over the past thirty days, marking the first decline in the title’s history. As alarming as that may seem, there’s no reason for panic quite yet; PUBG’s impressive numbers inevitably had to dip after such a lengthy run and the title is still the number one played game on Steam by over a million players. There is, however, reason to be concerned if that decay continues over the weeks and months to come, but there are some steps Bluehole and PUBG Corporation can take to avoid any major drops beyond the inevitable.

Communicating with your Audience

Like many other early access titles, Bluehole did an admirable job of keeping fans informed on the short and long-term plans of PUBG. From weekly patches to minor overhauls and brand-new features, Bluehole embraced their ever-growing fanbase through teases on social media and trailers at E3 to showcase the imminent future of the best-seller. This continued until PUBG 1.0 launched in December, and ever since the developer and its community representatives have kept relatively quiet, leaving many fans in a period of confusion and growing disinterest in regards to the game’s future. While this likely isn’t the only reason for the game’s recent droppage, Bluehole should resume their initiative to keep fans informed on what lies on the horizon now that PUBG has officially released, including not only the rumored PS4 release, but the core game’s new features, weapons, maps, improvements and more. Fortunately, PUBG Corp community manager Sammie Kang addressed an upcoming roadmap for PUBG in early 2018 on Twitter, meaning this key step towards repairing the developer’s relation with its fans could be arriving in the near future.

Learn From Your Competitors

With the overwhelming nature by which PUBG captured the gaming industry’s attention, it was inevitable that several other developers would hop on the train and integrate battle-royale style modes into their own ongoing franchises. Easily the most popular of these recent spin-offs has been Fortnite: Battle Royale, a free-to-play version with a cartoon aesthetic and over forty million players since its launch last summer. As the current competitor with the biggest opportunity to take PUBG down a notch, Bluehole should embrace this healthy competition and look into what has kept Fortnite within reach of its own arena survival title. While we did address a few elements that the developer could look into in an article of ours from last year, Fortnite has more recently begun to introduce limited-time modes that spice up the formula, such as 50v50 team deathmatches. There’s no need for PUBG to directly steal any of Fortnite’s modes, but Epic Games’ willingness to creatively expand upon the core mechanics with interesting new twists is a potential-heavy notion that the team at PUBG Corp could stand to benefit from if they’re looking to entice players back to their smash hit.

More of the Same is Good, but Not Enough

As PUBG came closer to launch, many of the small updates, in addition to the expected refinements and tweaks, included new weapons or clothing items, with the former primarily being loot crate-exclusive guns that weren’t common enough to have a drastic impact on the core gameplay for most players. While these small additions were welcome, and would continue to be so over the months to come, Bluehole will have to set their sights higher if they want to keep old players returning and attract new players. Considering how large an impact the second map has made upon the playerbase, concrete details regarding a third or fourth map could spark intrigue among the community, as well as the assortment of new vehicles that could be found within it. Beyond the predictable, Bluehole and PUBG Corp. likely have a few surprises up their sleeves as PUBG enters its second year and it will be interesting to see whether or not the developers can curb the current downward trend of one of 2017’s definitive titles.