Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene, founder of Bluehole studios and director of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, has released a comprehensive statement on the recent controversy for an upcoming crate/key loot system in the Early Access game. Although he acknowledged player concerns, his main response has been to reiterate that it is planned as a test and that his team would never implement something in the main game without adequately testing it first.
Crate and key systems are a reasonably well-established method of funding a game’s ongoing support and development. As a randomized but often microtransaction-twinned method of unlocking aesthetic upgrades for characters, it’s proved to be the least-hated of in-game moneymaking systems. That wasn’t exactly the case for Battlegrounds, though.
When it was announced recently that it was set to introduce its own crate and key system for players of all skill levels, despite developers promising not to do so until the game was released, it rubbed some fans of the Early Access title the wrong way.
PlayerUnknown’s response to that has been understanding, but firm. He reiterated that the scheme would be implemented despite the game’s Early Access status, but that it was a test and would be treated as such. Although he apologized for the messaging of the original announcement, he doubled down on his belief that implementing a solid microtransaction system through crates and keys was important to maintaining a healthy post-release ecosystem and community.
Testing such a system is vital to making sure it will work when the game is officially released, he said.
“The idea of testing, prior to full implementation, is at the heart of adding every new game feature in our game, and this includes the crate and key system which we believe will serve as the foundation of a healthy economy after launch,” he said in the Steam news post. “This is an economy that would and should benefit all players — both who are willing to pay and who are not willing to pay for vanity items.”
He also highlighted how several of the crates will be free to open, so aesthetic upgrades and different apparel will be available for those that want it, even if they aren’t willing to pay for the privilege.
Although not addressed in this response to the community, the original announcement did also make it clear that money earned from key sales would go toward funding tournaments, with any leftover funds going to select charities.