Devs Clarify 'PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' Crate-And-Key System, Release New Update (Updated)

Update, 8/4/17, 8:15am PT: First-person-only servers have jumped from the "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" test area into the base game. Now you'll be able to choose how you want to play: with the expanded visibility afforded by a third-person view or with the heightened tension caused by a first-person perspective.

Original article: 8/1/17, 12:05pm PT:

The fourth monthly update for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is now available, and with it comes some clarification on the game’s increasingly controversial crate-and-key system.

The Crates

In order to get different sets of clothing for your in-game character, you can spend Battle Points, which are obtained by playing the game, to purchase and open Pioneer Crates that contain multiple and random cosmetic items. Today’s update added two additional crates, called Survivor and Wanderer, which you can open for free. If you have enough Battle Points, you can purchase up to six crates per week.

There’s also a Gamescom Invitational crate that contains several outfits inspired by the "Battle Royale" movie. You can use your Battle Points to purchase the Gamescom crate, but to open it, you need to purchase its key, which costs $2.50. Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene said proceeds from the key will fund an invitational tournament at Gamescom, create a prize pool for the tournament's winners, and support charities.

The introduction of real-world currency for in-game items sparked controversy among players, to the point where the topic is now the top-voted thread in a subreddit related to PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Despite the arguments against the introduction of the crate-and-key system, Greene said that it will remain in the game as it “will serve as the foundation of a healthy economy after launch.”

"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.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. And once again, this is a purely optional system, and you are not forced into participating if you do not feel like it. You will still get a fully featured game, with a polished Battle Royale game-mode, a wide variety of weapons and vehicles to play with, stat tracking, ranking and leaderboard systems, 2D and 3D replays and much more.”

The Steam Marketplace Greene mentioned is where players can take their in-game items and sell them for real-world money. You can buy select items such as jackets or sunglasses for less than $1, but the most coveted items include a trenchcoat (prices start at $298) and the PlayerUnknown Set crate ($910), which is an exclusive crate available only to those who pre-ordered the game.

The Update

In addition to Greene’s clarification on PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' crate-and-key system, the team at Bluehole also released an update that, in addition to the optimizations and bug fixes common to Early Access titles, brings some notable additions to the experience.

The game now includes a V-Sync option, which is useful for those suffering from screen tearing issues. There’s also a new Colorblind Mode and the ability to alter your character’s field of view with a slider. For gameplay, you can now enter a game that only allows the first-person view mode for an extra layer of challenge (normally, you can switch between first- and third-person view throughout the match). Xbox controllers are now compatible with the game, so you can use them as an alternative to the mouse and keyboard configuration, and if you're disconnected during a match, you can instantly re-enter the game. For the rest of the additions, you can read the full update details on Steam.

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NamePlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
PlatformsPC, Xbox One
Where To BuySteam
Release DateMarch 23, 2017 (Early Access)
  • Brian_227
    It seems like every single game out there is doing this now. Does anybody actually enjoy this grifting scheme of gambling real money for virtual items that become useless and forgotten 3 months later?
  • termathor

    It's a bit beyond me as well. I only remember paying 2 bucks once or twice in TF2, for special crates, before I realised the insane amount of money to unlock all the ones I had and the duplicate objects I got.
    It's quite perverse as a system IMO.
  • JamesSneed
    20012807 said:
    It seems like every single game out there is doing this now. Does anybody actually enjoy this grifting scheme of gambling real money for virtual items that become useless and forgotten 3 months later?

    Count me out. I mean seriously for some of these prices you could get a new GPU and another game. I refuse to contribute to this type of stuff. I was thinking about picking up PlayerUnknown but not know Ill just pass.
  • clonazepam
    I have played nickel slots on vacation in Vegas just to keep the champagne flowing. I suppose it could be something like that. If you spend what you could afford to lose down a storm drain without any negative consequences, its ok.

    PUBG's 1st person view still needs a lot of work in my opinion. The perspective is all off. It feels like you're about 3 feet tall running around. Going prone is almost ant-like in its perspective.
  • LilDog1291
    @Brian Dota 2 and Rocket League do the same thing and I love it. The items are purely superficial so if people want to blow their money on it, it doesn't impact gameplay at all. This way a game can continue to grow and garner developer support long after release unlike the yearly flavors of CoD and Battlefield.

    Take Dota 2 for example. The prizepool for their International tournament in 2013 was ~2 million USD and today thanks to its growth it is greater than 22 million USD. This pool is purely funded on the same model of opening a crate, treasure, etc. with the chance of getting 1 out of so many possible items per container.

    The traditional model of $60 for a game and thats it is over since developers are expected to continue to update and support a game long past the point of profitability. The simple fact is that if people don't like crates, they don't have to buy keys to open them and can essentially vote with their money.
  • lazymangaka
    Cue a whole bunch of people getting angry about other people spending money on items that don't impact anything.
  • Giroro
    I thought most games stopped doing this when they realized that "healthy economy" actually means "International money laundering".
  • Olle P
    20012807 said:
    ... gambling real money for virtual items that become useless and forgotten 3 months later?
    Isn't that the very definition of buying a game?

    I don't play this specific game, but if I did I'd think this "feature" is okay as long as you don't need to approach the crate to know that it requires a key to open.