PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG/Battlegrounds) is the number one PC game in Japan, number six in the world and according to Newzoo, is attracting players away from other games—while still in early access.
“It’s quite a unique game, even within its genre,” Newzoo senior data analyst Gijs Holleman told AlistDaily. “The gameplay goes much deeper than similar titles [such as H1Z1] by focusing much more on strategy, ultimately boosting the competitiveness, and having a wider diversity of weapons and items. This attracts a lot of players who are looking for a different shooter experience, different from Overwatch and CS:GO for instance—which is where we see that most [Battlegrounds] players originate from.”
Using its new PC Game Tracker, Newzoo found that Battlegrounds was the sixth most-popular game among core PC gamers worldwide in July, with 10.8 percent playing the title. In terms of global impact and the potential of a breakout hit, that’s more than World of Warcraft, GTA V, and Rocket League.
The game was also number six in terms of play time, accounting for four percent of the total time spent on PC games in July. This data is derived from Overwolf’s user base of 12 million PC gaming enthusiasts across 42 countries.
“From its early release in March, the game immediately caught the attention of Twitch creators who grabbed the opportunity to make it a perfect game to stream on their channels,” said Holleman. “This helped [Battlegrounds] to quickly make a name [for itself] among the huge pool of PC enthusiasts and spread among them like wildfire.”
Newzoo found that Battlegrounds is attracting players away from other games, who abandon them in favor of the popular all-out shooter. No game has felt this effect more than Overwatch—of the global players who stopped playing Overwatch in July, 25.2 percent were playing Battlegrounds. This was most pronounced in Japan, Newzoo found, where the figure was 54.7 percent.
Churn from CS:GO was also high with 21.1 percent globally and 31.9 percent in the US. Other genres have been affected too, although not as dramatically. Of the people who stopped playing Minecraft and World of Warcraft in July, 14.2 percent and 19.6 percent were playing Battlegrounds, respectively.
Battlegrounds has sold over four million copies since it entered early access in March. The battle royale is proving fun to play, but just as important in today’s marketplace, it’s fun to watch as well. Within three months of launch, the game became the second most-watched game on Twitch.
In Battlegrounds, 100 players parachute onto an island where they must kill to survive while avoiding death themselves. Heavily inspired by the 2000 film Battle Royale, the game is based on a number of previous mods created by Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene.
The “anything goes” style of gameplay makes each game session unique.