‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ development slows as team focuses on cheaters

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has been adding new gameplay features and content — including the Miramar map — over the last several months, but the PC version of the game has run into a significant problem with cheaters. It has grown severe enough that the development team has delayed new content as it works toward making the battle royale phenomenon fair once again.

“Early this year, development of some of the major features and systems [in the game] was delayed  as our focus shifted toward tightening our anti-cheat effort,” the Battlegrounds development team said in an update post. “Also, due to other reasons, we have not been able to show you the team’s development road map for 2018. We would like to ask for our players’ generous understanding that despite the team’s eagerness to share what we have been planning and working on, the timing had to be changed.”

New changes planned for the PC version of the game include the free “militia” crate and the paid “fever” crate, which contain a variety of cosmetic items such as belts, boots, shirts, and hats. The replay feature has also been tweaked for reporting players, and it now sends a 1-minute gameplay file to the developers in order to assess whether someone cheated.

Thus far, the majority of cheating players are located in China, according to Brendan Greene, creative director, and the reaction from community members hasn’t been particularly pleasant, with some calling for the country to be banned from other regions’ servers. Popular streamer Guy Beahm, known online as “Dr. Disrespect,” was criticized for mocking Chinese players’ accents, apparently in frustration over the game’s issues.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds recently passed 30 million players, with more than 4 million of them on the Xbox One, but its player count has been dropping as of late. The second map, Miramar, has been criticized for being too flat and open, leading to less interesting encounters. A third map is planned to launch in 2018, and the development team plans to reveal more information on it in March.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is now available for PC and Xbox One. In China, publisher Tencent is currently testing two mobile spinoff games, as well.