2017 is already shaping up to be another banner year. Gems like Nioh, For Honor, Nier: Automata, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Resident Evil 7 and more are keeping all of us entertained for hours. And it’s not even April yet. All of these games are outstanding, but they haven’t set their hooks in me like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
Originally published 3/30/2017.
Released last week via Steam’s Early Access, Battlegrounds quickly shot up to the to 10 on Steam’s most played games. And the Twitch community has embraced the game completely, with Battlegrounds wrestling the top spot away from the likes of League of Legends and CSGO at times.
But what about folks on Xbox One and PlayStation 4? They’ve been promised games like DayZ and H1Z1. So far, both games are MIA. I’ve been crossing my fingers for a Battle Royale game to hit consoles so all my non-PC friends can see what all the fuss is about. And it looks like I won’t need to cross my fingers for much longer.
Inven recently sat down to chat with Bluehole’s Yongwook Choi (General Manager) and Changhan Kim (Project Director). One of the first questions asked was about the console version. Here’s what Kim had to say:
“There’s something called the Xbox Preview Program, which is basically Early Access for Xbox. We’re hard at work adding the finishing touches to the game there. It’ll be out on both PlayStation and Xbox.”
No word on a specific date, but the comment suggests it could be coming sooner rather than later. I imagine optimization of the console versions is the biggest issue the folks at Bluehole are working on.
Bluehole is ecstatic about the reception of the game so far. And who wouldn’t be? Peak concurrent players sit close to 60,000 every day. Not bad for a game released just a week ago. And the potential for more waits in the untapped console market. We’ll have to wait and see if Battlegrounds makes it over. But these recent comments sound good.
Battlegrounds’ creative director Brendan Greene reiterated Bluehole’s goal to bring Battlegrounds to consoles. “We have a team working already on looking to port it to at least the Xbox [One],” said Green in a recent interview with Business Insider.
Don’t worry PS4 folks, Bluehole is looking after you too. “We’re looking at both consoles of course, but we have no time frame for both,” added Greene.
The emphasis on Xbox One in his comments does make me wonder if they are going the Xbox Preview route. Greene and the Bluehole team aren’t offering a specific date. We do know the team is still working hard on the PC version of Battlegrounds and are looking at exiting Early Access later this year.
These type of games are notorious for staying in Early Access forever, but the devs are delivering on everything they’ve said so far. Weekly updates are happening regularly (outside of a two-week period the team communicated about ahead of time). Monthly updates are offering bigger fixes and content.
Plus, the game’s engine (Unreal) should make porting to console a little easier. The biggest issue I see is going to be optimization of the huge world (and 100 players within it) on Xbox One and PS4.
Right now, Bluehole is saying what console gamers want to hear. There’s a huge untapped player base for Battle Royale-style games. So far, no one has been able to deliver on consoles.
Kim also touched on concerns many have that Battlegrounds will stay in perpetual early access, and how that relates to the console versions.
“It’s understandable that people are worried that we’ll go down the same path. Let me assure you that it couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ll keep polishing the game for release this summer. Since we’re also working on the console version, it’s really awkward for us to postpone any longer than that.”
The entire interview is worth a read. Kim and Choi touch on the upcoming modding tools, new maps and modes. They also dropped a little nugget I haven’t heard yet. A motorcycle is coming to Battlegrounds next month.
What do you think of Battlegrounds so far? Would you double dip when the console version hits?