PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds continues to teem with people trying to feed their families with delicious chicken dinners, but yesterday it dipped below a million daily players for the first time in just over a year, according to numbers from SteamDB.
The dip didn’t come out of the blue. PUBG’s numbers have been slowly declining since its 3.2 million peak at the start of the year. Decline perhaps oversells it. Across the year it’s jumped around, though each peak is typically smaller than the last. Even when it went below a million players yesterday, 960,000 people is still a considerable number, along with over 90,000 people watching on Twitch.
As Eurogamer points out, yesterday also saw the arrival of Black Ops 4’s very own battle royale mode, Blackout, at least in beta form. That was exclusively for Playstation 4 pre-orders, however, so while it might have contributed to the numbers, I’m not convinced it was the main reason. It’s been teetering just above one million daily players for most of the last month.
Competition from Fortnite is a much more obvious reason, along with a slew of imitators and other battle royales which might not contribute much alone, but together have been tempting away a chunk of PUBG’s audience. 2018 has also been a banner year for games. Big games that swallow up months at a time. The competition for our attention spans has rarely been this ferocious.
PUBG Corp is trying to “fix PUBG” in the face of this competition, though officially it’s because the developer feels that it hasn’t met expectations. This was announced last month, however, and is not a reaction to yesterday’s numbers. Whenever big games start to dwindle, I always think about World of Warcraft. It shed half of its subscribers in five years, but continues to loom large over every other MMO. Chicken dinners probably aren’t going to go out of style any time soon.
Were you hooked on PUBG before moving onto greener pastures? Tell us the story of your exodus in the comments.