Although PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has watched its player base slowly decline after peaking in January of last year, recent data insights suggest that players may be coming back to the battle royale game.
According to Steamcharts - a site dedicated to the ongoing analysis of concurrent players on Valve’s Steam platform - PUBG player counts were on the rise in December 2018; a trend that has continued into the early days of 2019.
What is interesting is that the increase in players comes only one month after the game saw its lowest player count - dropping below the one million concurrent player mark - since August 2017 (when PUBG was still gaining popularity).
Of course, the one-time battle royale king is still nowhere near to where it was in January 2018. It’s not even lucky enough to be where it was in June 2018 (an average of 800k concurrent players), when PUBG’s player count lost over half of its active player base following January’s peak, which held an average of 1.5 million concurrent players.. As of December 2018, PUBG was sitting at an average concurrent player base of 473k, just over half of where it was in June.
Keep in mind that these numbers only represent the Steam version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and does not include players on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or even PUBG Mobile. It is entirely plausible that game is doing better overall, especially with its PlayStation 4 release having only launched one month ago.
Is there hope within the saturation battle royale genre for a consistent future for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds? Sure… but it is probably best to temper expectations and accept the fact that whatever ends up being considered “consistent” may include far lower player counts than what it used to have.
However, that could ultimate be a positive thing for the embattled battle royale title. With all of the issues that PUBG has encountered - bugs, hacking, cheating, just to name a few - perhaps a lower player count with a more steadfast and patient community is just what the game needs to ensure its longevity. Catering to less players might allow PUBG Corp. to really hone in and fix its issues in a more proactive (less reactive) manner. Only time will tell the fate of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, but 2019 could be a make or break year for the game.