‘We can’t provide people with free servers’
After hinting that custom servers might require a paywall, PUBG Corp’s Brendan Greene has confirmed that the feature will be a paid option when it arrives. In an interview with PCGamesN, PUBG creator Brendan Greene stated, “I was a modder for many years, and I didn’t expect ARMA to provide me with free servers to mod on, and it’s the same with [PUBG]. We can’t provide people with free servers…We just can’t provide free servers for everyone, it’s just not a sustainable business model. I still pay for ARMA 3 servers to this day, because that’s just how the world works.”
Greene defends his stance by saying, “For me, it is about building a platform for game modes. That’s what custom mode is there to do – it’s like modding lite. We really want to give and empower the players to create new modes, as well providing our own presets for people to experiment with.” He then closes off the interview with, “sales of a game can only last you so long,” and says the company will look into other ways to monetize PUBG that don’t affect gameplay.
While I understand the need for a business to maintain stable income, there are a few caveats that Brendan Greene seems to be forgetting. Firstly, Bohemia Interactive charges for ARMA 3 servers for people that can’t host their own (DICE did this same thing when Battlefield 2 launched in 2005). The game has a dedicated server option for those with powerful enough rigs to host their own games. Secondly, dedicated servers are always a path one can go down since it then shifts the cost of maintenance onto the user instead of the developer. Thirdly, are we just going to forget how classic games like Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament launched with dedicated server support in 1999?
Putting that all aside, though, PUBG is one of the most popular games around, at the moment, and makes ridiculous amounts of money. You mean to tell me that PUBG Corp can’t realistically provide free server support for its users after netting $700 million in a year? This is disregarding how the game has an upfront cost and paid cosmetic microtransactions that users can spend stupid amounts of cash on. There is really no reasonable argument you could make that says PUBG needs to have paid custom servers. We’re not talking about the game in its twilight years with waning player numbers. We’re hardly seven months into the first year of operation since leaving Early Access.
This isn’t a case of PUBG Corp not being able to offer the option. This is more a case of the developer looking for additional ways to nickel and dime players. With the mass success of Fortnite stealing thunder from the once reigning king, I suppose PUBG Corp feels it has to do everything it can to cash-in on its fame while it still lasts.
Honestly, I’m just sad. PUBG is an incredible idea that took the industry by storm, but its developer doesn’t seem to understand why people were so drawn to it in the first place. I do hope that PUBG Corp reconsiders its stance on this matter, but I won’t hold my breath.