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


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

The transition to a free-to-play model resulted in a resurgence in PUBG’s player base, showing an increase of more than 480% within a week of the transition. The surge rivaled the game’s growth rates recorded during its original release back in 2017.

On Friday Krafton released their latest earnings report, which boasts an impressive spike in profit and overall revenue. According to the report, the PUBG parent company’s Q1 revenues grew by more than $400 million, while operating profits grew to $241.9 million. The profit growth represents an increase of 37% over the previous year and a staggering 628% over the previous quarter.

A large portion of the growth resurgence is attributed to the F2P transition, with data showing the number of monthly active users (MAUs) approximately tripling when compared to the previous year’s figures. The spike in users and revenue is directly related to the company’s decreased operating cost requirements and the elimination of stock-related costs impacting the budget’s bottom line.

According to the report, 95% of the new 2022 revenue was driven by international markets outside of South Korea. PUBG Mobile also experienced significant growth, recording a sharp increase in downloads and $307 million in revenue increase across the same reporting period.

Like other battle royale games, PUBG no longer relies on software licensing costs from PC and console players and instead it’s all in-game purchases for revenue generation. The move levels the playing field with other popular free to play titles such as Apex Legends, Fortnite, and Warzone, all of which generate revenue through in-game purchases for content, skins, and other cosmetic features allowing players to separate themselves from millions of other players gunning for a win.


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