When developer Bluehole announced that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds would receive cosmetic microtransactions in this month’s big early access update, some fans were quite upset.
Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene had previously said that microtransactions would not be included in the game until it was out of early access. But the August update included the ability to purchase keys to open an exclusive crate, which features cool new customization items.
So what happened? Today, Greene explained himself at length in a blog post that also featured August’s patch notes, hoping to better express why his team felt it was a good time to add microtransactions.
“While our intention was and still is to add the full feature to the game when we move into actual release, we do need to test it prior to launch and at Early Access so that it is stable and ready to be fully introduced to our community,” Greene said. “The idea of testing, prior to full implementation, is at the heart of adding every new game feature in our game, and this includes the crate and key system which we believe will serve as the foundation of a healthy economy after launch.
Greene thinks that microtransactions, in the long run, will be beneficial to every player—even those who have no interest in spending additional money on the game.
“This is an economy that would and should benefit all players—both who are willing to pay and who are not willing to pay for vanity items. It is important that all our players are able to enjoy the various items that will be provided for customization, and it is even more crucial that we have a stable self-sustaining economy that maintains the value of the items you have purchased or gained.”
When the news of these microtransactions first hit, Reddit and other community sites blew up with accusations that Greene and Bluehole were money hungry and going against their promises. But Greene is assuring everyone that this is part of the early access plan.
“I do understand your concerns about the system, but I feel testing for a sturdy economy on the Steam Marketplace is necessary at this stage and ultimately beneficial for the game,” he said, reiterating that the system is optional and cosmetic. He also felt the need to clarify his message, and even apologize for the lack of clarity in the past.
“But still, I must admit that our messaging wasn’t very clear, so I extend my sincere apologies for the confusion caused,” he said. “The process of communicating our intentions precisely to our fans and communities should have been done in a more careful and prudent manner. I’ve learned a lot, and we’ll try to communicate better moving forward.”
Greene explained that players will be limited to the number of crates that can be received per week in PUBG, with crate prices being reset on Mondays, much like the current system. Players will be able to open six crates per week maximum, and they can be freely traded on the Steam marketplace.