PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds and Its 7 Million Game Sales

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds has now become one of the biggest hits of the video gaming year. After a surge in sales and its player base, more people are now playing PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds than games like CS: GO on Twitch, but why the sudden rise to stardom? Let’s find out.

What is PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds?

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds is a battle royale style game developed by Brendan Greene, also know as PLAYERUNKNOW. Brendan is responsible for creating other battle royale mods for games such as Arma and H1Z1 and decided to join forces with veteran team Bluehole to create their own project - PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds.

This is truly a game of last man standing. Players start a game either solo or in teams of up to 4 players. You are air-dropped from a plane with nothing but the clothes on your back. It’s then up to you and your team to find weapons, armour, health packs and try to survive.

Whilst searching for supplies and survival gear, players must be aware of the ever-shrinking play area. Over time the area in which you can move about in and find weapons gets smaller and smaller until you eventually face to face with your enemies.

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds is a game about realistic tension as player’s battle to be the last man or women on a massive 8x8 km island. Gear up as quick as you can, or you won’t last long.

What are the numbers?

Despite PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds still being an early access game (yes, another one) it is already providing a real challenge to the some of the most established names in video gaming. The numbers on SteamSpy don’t lie and they all point towards PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds being one of the biggest games in years.

According to the details from SteamSpy(, it shows that the game has now sold well over 7 million copies from steam alone. You have to bear in mind that this is a game that was only released in March 2017.

The details on SteamSpy also show that this isn’t just a game people are buying and not playing either. With nearly 700,000 people playing at the same time during its peak this is anything but a throwaway game.

They are some crazy numbers when you consider the games early access release date. Having this sort of player base this early on means it’s well on its way to reaching the staggering heights of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s 31 million sales.

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds probably owes much of its success to the streamers and content creators online. There has been a string of games that gained their reputation from Twitch and YouTube, with PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds following the trend.

In a recent survey PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds managed to notch up nearly 17 million hours of viewership on Twitch, in just one week. That’s higher than games like League of Legends.

During a press conference at Gamescom, the creator Brendan Greene had this to say on why he thought the game has become so popular “I think it’s the idea that it’s a very basic game. It’s land, loot, survive. Everyone can understand that. I think that’s what the draw is. There are no rules, there’s no ‘you have to play this way’, you can just jump in and play.”

The sole success of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds is not just down to its online reputation, however. The game is fun, it’s tense and has some moments of pure carnage. There are times when you are one of the few players left and you know you’re about to run into another enemy. Your heart ends up in your mouth and you feel every step and hear every blade of grass shift.

It’s a unique concept and despite its current technical flaws, you still have some great moments in the game. The UI and the overall stability need to be looked at, but that will come with time as it does with any early access game.

Can it maintain the popularity?

The easy answer to that question is yes. After all, the game is still in early access, meaning it is likely to a wealth of changes to both the gameplay mechanics and the overall stability.

With more and more players, comes more and more funds that PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds can use to implement some of the features they weren’t sure if they’d have the funds for. Overall its popularity so far means the game’s content should benefit in the long run.

That’s a slight issue at the moment with PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds. There just isn’t enough content to sustain it for a great length of time. Currently, there is only one map and limited character customisation options and that could be an issue in the future.

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds is also due to release on Xbox One as a console exclusive, whether that’s for a certain time period or not, it’s currently unknown. I would expect to see a couple more maps released by the time it hits the consoles and let’s face it, they certainly have the funds to do it.

As far as sustaining the popularity goes, I think PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds is well on its way to keep growing. DOTA 2 currently sits a top the popularity charts, but I see no reason why that won’t have change within the next year.

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds is now available on Steam as an early access game. The Xbox version is set to release later this year.

Constantly threatening to write a book, but always with a story to tell. Tom has a typical northern English soul. He may sound as mundane as Jon Snow, but at least he tries to articulate. Lover of video games, comics, geek pop culture and wishing he could play Dungeons & Dragons.