Last week, developer Bluehole announced that it is adding a “crate-and-key” cosmetic DLC system to Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. Although two crates will be free to open, one will require you to purchase a special key. This announcement drew a lot of controversy among fans, many of whom objected to an Early Access game getting paid cosmetic DLC. Today, Bluehole responded, explaining that it needs to test the system ahead of PUBG’s official launch.
In a post on Steam, Brendan “Playerunknown” Greene addressed the criticisms directly, saying that he understands fans’ concerns about such a system of microtransactions. However, he also stated that this early test of a paid crate-and-key model is necessary for developing a stable in-game economy in the future.
“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,” Green wrote. “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. It is important that all our players are able to enjoy the various items that will be provided for customization, and it is even more crucial that we have a stable self-sustaining economy that maintains the value of the items you have purchased or gained.”
He went on to reiterate that this is an entirely optional system, and the items that will be sold are only “vanity” items. Anyone who owns a copy will still get access to the rest of the game. He apologized, though, for confusion caused by the original announcement of the system.
“I must admit that our messaging wasn’t very clear, so I extend my sincere apologies for the confusion caused. The process of communicating our intentions precisely to our fans and communities should have been done in a more careful and prudent manner. I’ve learned a lot, and we’ll try to communicate better moving forward.”
This explanation lines up with the reasoning that he gave in early June when he sat down with GameSpot, well before the announcement of the DLC. You can read our interview with him here.
The first paid DLC will include a bunch of skins inspired by Battle Royale. You can buy the crate using in-game currency, but you must purchase a key for $2.50 to unlock it. The proceeds from this crate will go partly toward funding PUBG’s first big esports tournament happening later this month at Gamescom, and partly to charity.
The other two new crates can be purchased using in-game currency, as well, but they will be free to open. Greene revealed what they’ll include in the post, and you can see a gallery of the cosmetics below. The crates launch on August 3.
In other PUBG news, the big July update launched today in the Public Test Server even though it’s already August; Bluehole had to delay its release due to server issues. It will be released to everyone later this week. You can read all about what it includes here.