"For us, the release of PUBG 1.0 is not the end to anything," CH Kim, CEO of PUBG Corp, told me over the phone (through a translator) earlier this week. "It's just one of the many milestones that we looked forward to accomplishing. We've seen a lot of Early Access games stay in Early Access for a very long amount of time. That's why we made a promise early on that we would get out of Early Access and make our 1.0 release within this year."
That day has come, as PUBG is now officially out of Early Access. The new desert map, Miramar, is live on servers along with the new weapons, vehicles, and vaulting and climbing systems that a lot of players have already been experiencing on the test servers for the past couple of weeks.
If you're diving into Miramar for the first time, we've got a guide to the new desert map here. And, while PUBG has only just left Early Access today, it's natural to wonder what might be in store for it over the upcoming year.
CH Kim told me that, apart from continuing to work on better optimization and performance, one main focus would be on making improvements to PUBG as a budding esport, both for players and viewers.
"We are in the process of discussing with a lot of different production companies around the world to see [what] we could work together on, but we'll be putting in the effort to figure out what different tools and functions we can add to make the process itself more attractive and enjoyable," Kim said.
"When it comes to the in-game rules we are doing a lot of experimenting right at this moment, we've been gathering some of the top [ranked players] in Korea and trying to test out the speed and the size of the blue zone. We tried removing the red zone for certain games, and those are some of the experiments that have taken place so far. And when it comes to the scoring system, because with battle royale you can't just have one match and be over with it, there needs to be a series of matches in order for us to get a winner, we're making tweaks and we're further fine-tuning what to do with the scoring system as well.
"While the core game mechanic itself will remain the same, we feel that throughout this experiment we could have some sort of more established tournament for PUBG next year.
"Or, like, a PUBG league next year," Kim added.
I also asked Kim about the sudden rush of battle royale games and modes that have been appearing over the past few months, as well as his take on Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene's recent comments about needing stricter IP protection in the gaming industry.
"For us, we feel like it's very natural for the genre itself to expand," Kim said. "Brendan commented for some companies that were specifically copying some of [PUBG's] game-specific features. I think he expressed his concerns toward that, but the fact that the last man standing battle royale genre itself is expanding, its something that we feel is very natural. And for us, we feel like [ours is] the first game that showed the world that this is a genre that could gain wide popularity within the gaming industry."
If you're not one of the 25 million people who have already bought PUBG, the price of $30 on Steam hasn't changed as it leaves Early Access.