PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is on the path to world domination. Over the weekend, Bluehole's incredibly popular "battle royale" title surpassed Dota 2's record number of concurrent players, making it the most-played game in Steam's history. Winner winner, chicken dinner.
This latest achievement doesn't come as much of a surprise. Bluehole announced earlier this month that more than 10 million copies of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds have been sold since the game's Early Access debut in March. The company also said that it reached a new peak number of concurrent players—more than 970,000—during the PUBG Invitational tournament held at the Gamescom convention in August.
Now the game has a new record number of concurrent players: 1,348,374. Dota 2 previously had the highest number of concurrent players with 1,292,328. This, then, isn't a case of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds edging out Valve's most popular title by a couple hundred users—it passed Dota 2's peak by more than 56,000 people. Other devs would kill to have 56,000 players, period, let alone to surpass Valve by that large a margin.
So what makes PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds so popular? Much of it probably comes down to word of mouth. It's often one of the most popular games on Twitch, regularly sits atop Steam's best sellers list, and is actively discussed on gaming-related discussion boards. A community has sprung up around the game, and many people have probably been fine spending the $30 asking price to join such a large group of players.
The rest comes down to the game itself. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds capitalized on many trends. It's a multiplayer game (check) centered on gathering supplies (check) in a quasi-post-apocalyptic setting (check) wherein you shoot other people (check) to establish your dominance. Because it has such an active community, it also has short queues, and Bluehole has regularly updated the game since its Early Access debut.
Those updates are going to slow down as PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds heads to an official launch on PC and Xbox One, but that doesn't mean Bluehole isn't giving early adopters reasons to keep coming back. Just last week, an update introduced foggy weather and a new gun, as well as the usual grab bag of bug fixes. We'll see how much higher the game will rise as more and more people buy in to see what all the fuss is about.
|PC, Xbox One
|Where To Buy
|March 23, 2017 (Early Access)
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Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.