PUBG Battlegrounds is now officially free-to-play as of today, its developer has confirmed.
The game, which was previously named PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds before being renamed in August 2021, is now available to download and play free of charge.
Every new player who downloads the game will start off with a Basic account, which gives them access to most of the game’s features.
However, there will also be a one-off paid upgrade called Battlegrounds Plus, which will cost $12.99 and will unlock new features.
Players with access to Battlegrounds Plus will gain access to:
- Ranked mode
- Survival mastery XP +100% boost
- Career – medal tab
- Creating custom matches
They’ll also be given 1300 G-COIN and Captain’s Camo hat, mask and gloves.
Developer PUBG Corporation has claimed that the main reason for the Battlegrounds Plus upgrade is to discourage cheating, because anyone who has their account banned will presumably need to start a new account and pay $12.99 again to access Ranked mode.
“[Locking off Ranked mode] is partly aimed at giving additional benefits to those upgrading to Battlegrounds Plus, but the ultimate reason for restricting the use of some major content is to prevent cheaters,” the studio explained.
“In the case of Ranked Mode, fair play is required the most as it is a fierce competition of players competing over Rank Points (RP). If anyone can play in a Ranked match without any restrictions, there are concerns about the possibility of an increase in potential cheaters as well as the possibility of banned players returning to the game easily.
“In addition, in order to prevent actions such as promoting unauthorized programs through creating custom matches, some contents are only available through Battlegrounds Plus. Anti-cheat is more important than ever as PUBG Battlegrounds is now free-to-play.”
Players who previously purchased the game before it went free-to-play will be upgraded to Battlegrounds Plus at no extra cost and will also be given a costume skin set including ‘Battle-hardened Legacy’ corset, jacket, gloves, pants and boots.
However, since the previous paid version has now been removed from Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now, Xbox players will no longer be able to stream the game over Xbox Cloud Gaming.