PUBG players are paying insane prices for rare costumes

With the introduction of a ‘crate and key’ system seen in games like Team Fortress 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has now joined the growing set of games offering cosmetics at a premium during Early Access—to mixed reception.

Boxes containing costumes inspired by cult classic film Battle Royale are funding the Gamescom PUBG Invitational event going on this week, as well as benefiting a selection of charities. The crates contain limited edition costume pieces, and as some of the first premium items for PUBG, players are selling them through the Steam Community Market at absurd prices.

While the crates themselves are only purchasable with in-game currency (BP), the keys to open them cost $2.50 each. Likewise, each crate purchased with BP before the rollover period increases in price, making it difficult for a single player to earn a complete set of matching clothing without outside purchases. According to the official post first announcing the inclusion of paid loot boxes, “... on August 27th, the Gamescom Invitational Crate will be no longer available and removed from the game. We will then return to the free-to-open system.”

Here's what people are paying for the most expensive PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds items on Steam:

Ivory School Uniform set (female)

Selling ~$727 | Buying ~$475

 Just because an item is listed on the Steam Community Market for a certain amount doesn’t mean that other users are willing to pay the price listed. Just as sellers can list a price, not unlike the stock market, buyers can list a price they're willing to buy an item for—if a listing appears at that price or lower, the order auto-executes. It’s telling that at least one Steam user intends to put down $475 dollars for this set of clothes from Battle Royale.

PLAYERUNKNOWN set

Selling ~$1,170 | Buying ~$871

Those who pre-ordered the deluxe version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds during its closed beta, for $40, were promised a set of exclusive items that would make the player look like Mr. Unknown himself—digital clothing now worth nearly a thousand dollars. 

PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Bandana

Selling ~$554 | Buying ~$529

Despite being sold at a lower price overall, potential buyers of this PlayerUnknown-patterned bandana are willing to pay more for the single item than users attempting to purchase the entirety of the Ivory School Uniform Set listed above. 

Tuxedo set (female)

Selling ~$530 | Buying ~$236

This tuxedo set shows a surprising dive in the amount of money players are willing to pay for it compared to other items in this list. This could be due to the fact you can earn it through a crate purchased with in-game currency? 

Black School Uniform set (female)

Selling ~$436| Buying ~$315

Women's clothes are clearly popular—even counting the PlayerUnknown-themed items seen elsewhere on this list, clothing explicitly labeled as ‘female’ accounts for four of the ten most expensive items in PUBG. 

School Skirt (white)

Selling ~$440 | Buying ~$382

You could compare the demand for this white skirt to the outrageously-priced Whiteout skin for the MP7 in Counter Strike: Global Offensive. In a world where most of the clothing is stuck in a postapocalyptic miasma of gas masks and tank tops, plain stands out. 

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S Trenchcoat

Selling ~$343 | Buying ~$320

The man behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is clearly revered, with three separate items under his name nestled firmly in the top-ten most expensive items in the game. 

Pleated Mini-skirt (blue)

Selling ~$269 | Buying ~$185

This skirt is being sold for over half of the total value of the set it’s belongs to—an example of sellers gouging the market, or of users unintentionally showing what items they care about most among the clothing released to date? 

Instructor set

Selling ~$247 | Buying ~$165

The Instructor Set contains an item currently worth ~$156 (Camo Hotpants), explaining the price potential buyers are seen willing to pay for it here. However, sellers are clearly treating the full set as a commodity due for a rise in value—an interesting development that could point to a wider trend.

Unlike CS:GO, the clothes you wear in PUBG can make a meaningful difference to your performance. They’re not just tools of self-expression—wearing the right shade can keep you concealed long enough to win a match, and some items might offer better camo in PUBG's upcoming maps

By opening the possibility of a more extensive crate and key system in their initial announcement of the program, Bluehole has raised a number of questions. When will more crates be introduced? Can you pay for them while the game is still in Early Access? What role will they play in funding the continued development of the game? Will they also be limited time offers? Depending on Bluehole Interactive’s answers to these questions, the market for PUBG items could become a battleground of its own.