PUBG: Battlegrounds is going free to play to begin 2022

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PUBG is officially making the free-to-play switch to kick off 2022.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is already one of the most popular games on PC. Steam Charts lists PUBG as the third most-popular game with daily peaks of over 360,000 concurrent players. That makes it the most popular paid game on Steam, but that solid player count is about to explode even higher. The original battle royale is switching to free to play on January 12, 2022.

The change was originally announced at the 2021 Game Awards. Players who previously purchased PUBG for its full price will receive several in-game rewards as a token of appreciation. To prepare for the free-to-play switch, PUBG servers will go down several times between now and January 12 for maintenance and gameplay updates. 

In addition to the current model of cosmetic monetization, PUBG players will have access to a new program called BATTLEGROUNDS Plus.

PUBG introduces new BATTLEGROUNDS Plus features

BATTLEGROUNDS Plus grants a variety of features including a 100% survival experience boost, access to custom matches, the career statistics tab, and access to ranked matchmaking. Players can also claim 1,300 G-Coins and a custom set of camo captain’s gear. BATTLEGROUNDS Plus is a one-time $12.99 USD purchase that can be made through the in-game client. PUBG fans who owned the game before the free-to-play switch will automatically receive BATTLEGROUNDS Plus.

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Thanks to the announcement, the game is already experiencing a massive spike in active players. Steam Charts lists an 8.78% increase in PUBG players for the month of December. Gains are staying strong in January 2022, with a +1.26% increase for the first week. Due to the guaranteed massive influx of free-to-play users, there’s never been a better time to hop back into the action.

What do paid PUBG players get when it goes free to play?

PUBG Corporation has pledged to distribute tons of rewards to players who purchase the game for full price. 

Whenever a popular game switches to free to play, there’s always the risk of upsetting its existing player base. PUBG’s current price of $29.99 is nothing to scoff at. As compensation, legacy players will receive a massive bundle of skins as well as BATTLEGROUNDS Plus at no cost.

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The PUBG Special Commemorative pack includes free access to the BATTLEGROUNDS Plus program and a full set of battle-hardened Legacy armor. The set includes a corset, jacket, pants, gloves, and boots. The bundle comes with a matching name plate and a unique pan skin modeled after a rotating saw.