We’ve never seen a game quite like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG — a game that was nothing this time last year but has grown in popularity at lightning speed to take out Dota 2 for most concurrent players on Steam.
That’s right, early this morning PUBG officially took the top spot for most concurrents on Steam with more than 870,000 players, pictured below. On its way up the charts these past months, the battle royale shooter passed globally popular games like H1Z1, GTA V, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and, finally, Dota 2.
The surpassing of Dota 2 is especially impressive for a few reasons: 1. Steam is Valve’s platform, and Dota 2 is Valve’s biggest game; 2. PUBG costs $29.99 whereas Dota 2 is free to play; and 3. Dota 2 is a completed game, and PUBG is an early access title.
Dota 2 still holds the all-time record at 1,291,328 players back in March of last year, but PUBG’s rapid growth is still both shocking and admirable. Games like Dota 2 and CS:GO have been around for years with all of Valve’s support, and PUBG is an infant by comparison as a game that began humbly as an ARMA 2 mod by Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene.
In addition to its success on Steam, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is incredibly popular on streaming platform Twitch. It’s consistently stayed in the top 5 viewed games on Twitch, running with the big boys like League of Legends, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and, of course, Dota 2.
So what makes PUBG so appealing? The simple answer is it’s unique and fun. Players drop onto a map with 100 others all trying to be the last person standing. Everyone has access to a plethora of weapons, vehicles, hideouts, and other players to either team up with or take out on the road to victory. It’s playable as both a third-person and first-person shooter, with dedicated servers for each.
The cornerstone of the game’s prosperity, though, has to be the dedication from its development team at Bluehole Studio. Devs are consistently releasing update after update, some with small but important bug fixes and others with huge content additions. And all the while, community feedback and interaction remains a top priority for the studio. Of course a game in early access is expected to receive lots of developer attention, but the undeviating outreach to players and response to what they’re seeking in the game is refreshing to say the least.
Many more improvements are on their way to PUBG, such as a new desert map that was teased at Gamescom and is expected to arrive soon. A Mediterranean map is also in the works, but no news on a release has slipped out just yet.
PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds also recently surpassed 8 million units sold on Steam, and it’s not even technically out yet, with a possible official launch date sometime late this year. Until then, it remains in early access for $29.99. Currently only available on PC, PUBG is slated to arrive on Xbox One later this year and eventually PS4.