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PUBG hits 3 million concurrent players (and 1.5 million cheater bans)

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It was inevitable, wasn't it? PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (opens in new tab) keeps blasting through milestones for concurrent players: in September it was 1 million (opens in new tab), in October it was double (opens in new tab) that and now, following its Early Access exit (opens in new tab), it's hit the three million mark. To put that in perspective, the next highest game, Dota 2, has a record of 1.29 million (although it hasn't broken 1 million since February).

I did read a few headlines earlier this month claiming PUBG had already reached three million, but it turns out they were wrong (and that there were a few fake charts floating around). SteamDB confirmed the achievement earlier today on its Twitter account, and Steam's official stats page (opens in new tab) is also showing today's peak players at 3,106,358.

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The question now is: how high can it go? I suppose numbers are likely to be inflated right now because lots of people have time off of work and school. And as you can tell by the time gaps between the million milestones, its growth is definitely slowing. But I'd be surprised if player numbers tailed off anytime soon. What's the ceiling? 3.5 million? 4 million? (Whisper it) 5 million? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Alongside the concurrent player record it's hit another, more worrisome milestone: 1.5 million players banned. Cheating has been a problem for a long time (opens in new tab) in PUBG and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. Admittedly, I don't see many hackers in game (perhaps I'm not good enough to get matched with them...), but I see a lot of other players posting videos of cheaters slithering around in the prone position faster than you can normally sprint.

The number of bans was confirmed by BattlEye, the game's anti-cheat service.

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The development team promised to do more to combat hacking back in November (opens in new tab), saying that it was rolling out new methods for catching cheaters. Clearly, whatever it did was not enough, and if there's anything that could hold back the game then constantly coming up against hackers is it.

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play. He's now a full-time reporter covering health at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. When he does have time for games you may find him on the floor, struggling under the weight of his Steam backlog.