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PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is slowly dying! Okay, that's more than a bit hyperbolic, but the game has experienced its first noteworthy drop in player count, which has folks questioning if the game is about as popular as it is going to get.
To be clear, PUBG seeing a dip in player count means it's only hitting concurrent numbers on par with what most other developers would consider fantastic figures for lifetime sales of any other game. But, based on a recent report from Gameinformer, the New Year has brought with it a noteworthy dip in activity, which is only really important because of the game's success.
Battlegrounds pulls in an insane number of daily players but, over the past month, the average has dropped off by several million. The fact that "several million" is a term that can be applied to a "noticeable drop" in game activity goes to prove just how successful PUBG has been and, if we're not goofing off like in this story's lede, very much so continues to be.
PUBG grew in popularity throughout 2017, hitting a fever pitch through the fall when it seemed like everyone on the planet was either playing, streaming or watching streams of the game. In December, update 1.0 dropped on the PC, marking the game's official exit from early access. That's also when PUBG launched on the Xbox One in early access, well on its way to a "full launch" this year.
All told, PUBG has shipped more than 30 million copies on Steam with another 4 million sold on Xbox One. The game's peak concurrent player count on the PC is more than 3 million. In the past month, though, the number of concurrent players has been on the decline. As of this writing, the current player count is 529,997, with the peak in the past 24 hours being nearly 1.7 million.
In other words, it looks like the honeymoon phase is officially over. We expect to see spikes pop up if a new map, mode or major update launches but, based on what we're seeing, folks are speculating that PUBG may have hit its ceiling.
This can be attributed to a number of factors. For starters, the game has been rolling in one form or another for over a year at this point. Second, games like Fortnite: Battle Royale have started winning over a portion of the audience. Until recently, PUBG hasn't really had any competition in the 100-player arena genre, so other quality contenders are going to snag some of the attention. Also, there have been a lot of big games launched in the past several months, including a new Call of Duty and, more recently, Monster Hunter: World. In other words, folks may have moved on to other pastures for the time being.
We'll just have to wait and see if this trend continues. In the meantime, we figure PUBG is doing absolutely fine, even if a portion of its players have started to stray from the pack.