PUBG going free-to-play is "in no way a response" to the success of Fortnite or Warzone

PUBG: Battlegrounds
(Image credit: PUBG Corp)

The decision to transition PUBG into a free-to-play game had nothing to do with the success of games like Warzone, Fortnite, and Apex Legends, the developer says.

Just in time for PUBG going free-to-play on Wednesday, January 12, GamesRadar sat down with creative director Dave Curd to better understand the change. The popular battle royale shooter has been a premium title since it launched in 2017, but Curd says it's time to open up the experience to a broader audience. 

"We came to the decision to make PUBG: Battlegrounds free to play because we feel that it is truly the right time," said Curd. "Our game is in a great place with eight maps, an engaged community and our deep gun mechanics, so this is the natural next step and a great way to introduce more players to our universe.  I know there are a lot of people who are interested in PUBG: Battlegrounds but have never gotten around to playing it for various reasons - now is the perfect moment to get started.

At one point, we wondered aloud whether PUBG going free-to-play has anything to do with the fact that the biggest heavy hitters in the battle royale genre; namely Apex LegendsCall of Duty: Warzone, and Fortnite; are free for players to download and start playing. 

"This is in no way a response to the other titles you've mentioned," Curd told us. "They're all great games which specialize in their own unique strengths, just as we do. We develop our game independently of others and are excited to see what is to come."

Curd added that cutting PUBG's $30 price tag will also open up new development opportunities. "We can invite more people to the party and that means we'll see developments that we may not have witnessed with the previous pay-to-play model," he explained. "In terms of developing and evolving, we will continue to do what we've always done: innovate, create new experiences, and grow the PUBG universe."

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Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.