PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Partners with Microsoft

Bluehole announces expanded partnership with Microsoft, but that doesn’t mean it’s exclusive.

As Gamescom kicked off in Cologn Germany yesterday, developers and publishers are flooding the internet with news and new trailers for fans. Notably, last night was Bluehole’s announcement of the shared “vision” the two companies hold. That vision, presumably to make as much money off the already hit Battle Royale shooter, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds.

PUBG has certainly had an explosive year, since its launch in March it has sold eight million copies and has become the top-performing non-Valve game on Steam. At times even rivalling CS: GO for most concurrent players. All this success has helped the small developer move toward the full release while it continues to roll out updates and new content.

Developing for multiple platforms, however, is a time-consuming and expensive challenge but one they were willing to undergo to expand the games already rapidly growing player base. Now they will not have to do it alone.

PUBG’s executive producer, Chang Han Kim wrote on Xbox Wire, “I’m happy to announce it now includes Microsoft as the publisher for our PUBG on Xbox One.” Note the very specific wording there. Although there has been no mention of the game appearing on another console there was also no mention that this relationship is an exclusive one. Which could mean the earlier suggestions of a timed Xbox exclusive followed by a PS4 launch later in 2018 is still on the table.

playerunknowns-battlegrounds bicycle
A new map teased by PUBG earlier this summer.

Kim continued saying that since beginning to work with Microsoft earlier this year their relationship has developed and that they would work together to bring the game to consoles.

“By partnering with Microsoft, our team believes that we will be able to accelerate console development, while maintaining quality across all platforms, as well as giving us access to vast sales, marketing and publishing resources that will help us reach new fans to welcome to the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds universe.”

Again Kim uses many general phrases including “across all platforms” which any reasonable person may take to mean more than two. Bluehole did say that the game would appear exclusively in the Xbox Game Preview program, similar to Steam’s Early Access, but there was no mention of after the full launch, which is still months away.

Playerunknown himself, Brendan Greene, has stated that PUBG is intended as a service rather than a game and that he expects a 10-year lifespan for the title. Given that intention and that third-party developers tend to shy away from total exclusivity these days it seems unlikely we won’t see the game on other consoles it just may be a while.

The big advantage of this new partnership is the increased resources Bluehole will now have access to. Microsoft will help lighten the load of marketing and help bring the game to Xbox. Hopefully, this means players can expect Bluehole to focus on more new content for the games full release due later this year. Kim did not give a precise release date for the Xbox Game Preview version or the full version.

One other thing missing from the announcement was the possibility of cross-play. Microsoft has a good record with supporting play across platforms and now that they are officially partnered it seems reasonable to expect it in the not too distant future.

Are you holding out hope for a PS4 version? Does it even really matter?

This article first appeared on DVSGaming.org

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