BUSINESS

Korean online game ‘Battlegrounds’ breaks Steam record for highest concurrent player count

By Sohn Ji-young
  • Published : Sept 19, 2017 - 16:41
  • Updated : Sept 19, 2017 - 16:57
Online shooting game “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” developed by South Korea’s Bluehole Studio has broken the record for the highest concurrent player count on Steam, the world’s largest online video game store platform.

The game, which was released as an early access beta version on Steam around six months ago, hit the milestone by achieving more than 1.34 million concurrent player counts Saturday, Bluehole said this week.

With the new record, “Battlegrounds” beat the top peak player count records on Steam set by Valve Corp.’s hit games “Dota 2” and “Counter-strike: Global Offensive.” 

“PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” is a survivor shooter game in which 100 players land on an island, locate their weapons and fight to kill one another until there is one player remaining. It was inspired by dystopian horror films including “Battle Royale” and “The Hunger Games.” 

As of Saturday, “Battlegrounds” had sold more than 12 million copies, an impressive record for an early-access game, which is still preparing for a full release scheduled for later this year.

"Battlegrounds" (Bluehole)

Early access means that users can pay -- $29.99 in the case of “Battlegrounds” -- to play the game before the official release, similar to crowdfunding. They can provide feedback to the developer and continue playing the game after it formally hits the market.

“Battlegrounds” also recently became the most watched game on Twitch, the world’s largest live streaming video platform, attracting more than 350,000 live viewers to its broadcast. 

So far, the game’s explosive reception globally suggests that it has potential to further expand its player base once it goes official. Bluehole said it is aiming for an official release by the fourth quarter of the year. 

In addition, Microsoft is planning to launch the game on Xbox One as the official publisher of Bluehole’s game for console devices, according to media reports.

The game’s unprecedented success worldwide sets a new milestone for the Korean gaming industry, which has been experiencing a prolonged downturn in PC online video games as more gamers turn to mobile games instead. 

Meanwhile, “Battlegrounds” has also hiked the market’s interest in Bluehole Studios. There have been rising speculations that the company may go public by leveraging the game’s success. Bluehole has yet to announce plans for an initial public offering. 

By Sohn Ji-young (jys@heraldcorp.com)