Krafton seeks turnaround by introducing free-to-play model PUBG: Battlegrounds is now free-to-play on PC and consoles

Translated by Kim So-in 공개 2022-01-18 07:54:49

이 기사는 2022년 01월 18일 07:53 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

South Korea’s game developer Krafton seeks to make a turnaround by introducing a free-to-play model for its PUBG: Battlegrounds amid its new title PUBG: New State’s sluggish performance.

Krafton announced last Wednesday that PUBG: Battlegrounds is now free-to-play on PC and consoles. With the game’s transition to free-to-play, it introduces Battlegrounds Plus, an optional premium account upgrade that allows players to access a variety of new and exclusive in-game features.

The company has made the latest decision as PUBG: New State is showing weaker-than-expected performance. PUBG: New State surpassed more than 45 million downloads globally one month after its official launch in November 2021.

The new title, however, has failed to generate enough revenue despite the large number of downloads. Samsung Securities recently revised down its estimates for PUBG: New State’s revenue from 550 billion won ($461 million) to 150 billion won and Krafton’s operating profit from 1.2 trillion won to 870 billion won.

Gaming industry insiders expect the transition to free-to-play may be a game changer amid the company’s recent concern of the quality of its user base.

Although PUBG: Battlegrounds unit sales is on the rise, the number of concurrent players has declined, an industry source said. The game had about 450,000 concurrent players in December 2021, which fell to approximately 300,000 concurrent players now.

This is probably due to cheats and hacks that players use to surpass competitors, get more kills, and win matches in an unfair way. The company bans accounts that use all kinds of unfair practices.

Banned users purchase new accounts. The new unit sales increases as the number of accounts that have been banned increases. Krafton said it improved its anti-cheat systems, which lowered the proportion of suspicious hack accounts by 45% in December 2021 compared to the beginning of the year.

This means that the sales of new units are virtually stagnant, excluding cheaters. Krafton has decided to increase the number of players by introducing a free-to-play model.

After switching to the model, PUBG: Battlegrounds topped the most played games chart on Steam, a digital distribution platform for PC gaming, according to Krafton. The number of concurrent players doubled, recording a maximum number of 660,000 players.

The company’s overall revenue is unlikely to be impacted by the free-to-play transition even if it ends in failure. PUBG: Battlegrounds generated 260 billion won on PC in 2020, accounting for about 15% of its total revenue of 1.67 trillion won, according to Meritz Securities. It generated 1.34 trillion won on mobile. (Reporting by Won-ji Hwang)
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