PUBG Battlegrounds is officially a free-to-play title as of January 12, 2022. The game, which started out as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds before being rebranded in August 2021, is now free to download and play. New players now start with a basic account that grants access to most of the game’s features. But there will also be a paid upgrade called “Battlegrounds Plus”, which unlocks more features.
The paid update costs EUR 12.99 and offers players, among other things, access to the ranking list mode, in which they can measure themselves against others in competitive matches. In addition, custom matches can also be created in which only players with the same upgrade status can gain access. In addition, “Battlegrounds Plus” provides players with XP boosts and exclusive outfits and items.
The developers stated that the reason for the paid ranking list mode was that they wanted to counteract cheaters. “The ban on ranked mode is partly aimed at providing additional benefits for those who upgrade to Battlegrounds Plus, but the real reason for restricting the use of some important content is to prevent cheaters.”, the studio explained. If anyone can participate in a ranked game without restrictions, there is concern that potential cheaters will increase and banned players can easily return to the game simply by creating a new account. Paying before participating in competitive matches is intended to act as a deterrent.
Players who purchased the game before the move to free-to-play will receive a free upgrade to Battlegrounds Plus, as well as a costume skin set called Battle-hardened Legacy. Now that the game is free, Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus are no longer required to play online on Xbox and PlayStation. The paid version of the game has also been removed from Playstation Now. The title is also no longer included in Xbox Game Pass and can therefore no longer be streamed via Xbox Cloud Gaming.