Since the new key and crate system was announced for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, there’s been unavoidable furore online.
The announcement confirmed what many suspected would be in the game’s future: cosmetic items that can be found in RNG-based, free crates you’ll need to buy keys to unlock.
Three of those crates were revealed yesterday, but only one requires the purchase of $2.50 key. The other two are earned and unlocked completely free, using only in-game currency.
If you want to have an idea where this would eventually go, you need only take a look at Steam’s Market page where you’ll find crates and keys for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Team Fortress 2, Killing Floor 2 and plenty of other games, being traded every second. And it’s this exact picture that some of the PUBG faithful don’t want to see repeated in their favourite game.
One of the most popular threads ever on the game’s main sub-Reddit has thousands of upvotes and hundreds of replies debating the issue, with the majority speaking out against what they see as money-grabbing, anti-consumer antics.
“If you continue down this road you’ll need to deliver picture perfect patches and content, or else you’re going to start losing players. We can be lenient so long as we’re treated well and you don’t try and nickle and dime us. Right now you’re losing the leniency,” said one Redditor.
Dissent went into overdrive when Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene chimed in on the game’s official Discord to say that all crates released after Early Access will require keys that cost money.
For clarity, all of the current and future content found in these crates is only cosmetic, and does not affect the action game. In a recent interview with Eurogamer, Greene said sales from these keys is what will continue to earn the studio money after Early Access, which in turn means a longer period of support. Even those who don’t want to engage in the system can easily ignore it and either sell their crates on Steam’s Market, or open them to unlock new stuff.
That all may make sense, but some players still have a stance against cosmetic items sold for real-money, even when the game is not a AAA $60 release. The simple solution, in their eyes, would be to continue making them available for free.
You could argue that merit, or skill-based drops would be a step in the right direction, but that may still not be enough to keep the lights on and support the player base post-launch.