Playerunknown's Battleground players are voicing their immense frustration over the new inclusion of purchasable in-game items in the battle-royale style third-person shooter.
Announced yesterday, one of three new in-game crates will now cost $2.50 USD to unlock, as opposed to being unlocked using free in-game currency. Even though these crates only unlock optional cosmetic items, not needed at all to play the game, players have taken to the game's Reddit channel to voice frustrations and apprehensions over whether or not this means the game will start leaning towards a pay-to-play model.
Further adding fuel to the fire, Brendan Greene, the creator of Battlegrounds announced yesterday that free crates will "probably" be discontinued once the game moves into its full release – it's been in early access via Steam since March.
"I always assumed you'd be able to buy cosmetics or crates when it was fully released but I didn't expect them to no longer be earnable by just playing the game sorta like how Overwatch works," one Reddit user said. "Talk about misrepresenting the game."
"It's a real shame. I figured since this was one of the few early access survival games to actually rise above the rest and be a solid game, they wouldn't start talking about/planning cashgrab microtransaction mechanics months before release," another added. "Looks like I'm wrong and even after selling millions of copies they've still got microtransaction money on their mind already."
It's worth reiterating, as of right now, the only microtransactions in Battlegrounds are for cosmetic options that have no real effect on your ability to play the game. However, it appears many players see this as a slippery-slope, where simple microtransactions now turn into more egregious ones later.
As the outlet VG247 points out: "If you want to have an idea where this would eventually go, you need only take a look at Steam’s Market page where you’ll find crates and keys for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Team Fortress 2, Killing Floor 2 and plenty of other games, being traded every second. And it’s this exact picture that some of the [Battlegrounds] faithful don’t want to see repeated in their favorite game."
Taking a look at the main Battlegrounds Reddit, it seems players are generally OK with purchasable items in the game, many recognizing it's important to keep revenue coming in if and when sales of the game plateau. What the majority find objectionable is making it the only way to use said items.
"There's nothing wrong with looking to make some extra cash and honestly I have no real issue with cosmetic stuff being all paid, though some free drops is still a good idea," one user said.
It seems like a bit of a vicious circle for Battlegrounds developers. Just yesterday, it was announced it would be selling special vanity items in the game to help fund the first ever Battlegrounds Invitational – an offline event organized by the ESL and publisher Bluepoint for this year's Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. How or if the developer plans to address these frustrations remains to be seen.