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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Xbox Version Likely A Timed Exclusive

by Jelani James


PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds has been the talk of the town as of late, so it was only a matter of time that it would become available on consoles to widen its audience. As it turns out, that time has come and talks of a Battlegrounds Xbox One version has already begun to surface following an interview with Eurogamer.

But here’s the problem: while the fact that a Battlegrounds Xbox One version is coming has been made abundantly clear, what isn’t as clear is whether it will be truly exclusive to the Xbox One and skip the PlayStation 4 entirely.

Of course, this isn’t due to the lack of trying to obtain as much information as possible. Both Microsoft and Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene have been oddly roundabout in the way they discuss Battlegrounds and its alleged exclusivity. Everyone has confirmed that it will be coming to the Xbox One, but none of them have definitively said “no” to it coming to the PlayStation 4.

First, there’s Mike Ybarra, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s gaming division across Xbox and PC:

“We’re publishing it on Xbox and it’s a console launch exclusive,” said Ybarra when questioned about Battlegrounds alleged Xbox One exclusivity. “For anything else – we don’t like to answer on behalf of developers, so you’d have to ask Bluehole. I’ve got a large portion of my team working with them to optimize it and their [Bluehole] focus is entirely on the PC and Xbox, period, to get that done.”

When questioned on what console launch exclusive really meant, he merely said, “It’s up to Bluehole. We’re not the developer.”

Speaking to Greene didn’t do much either, with him refusing to mention anything about any potential future developments between Battlegrounds and the PS4:

“No, just at the moment we just don’t have any bandwidth to work on any other version,” Greene said. “That’s why we did the publishing deal with Microsoft, because the console port for Xbox was being done by Anticto in Spain, which is basically three or four guys. They’re hiring more now but now we have Microsoft’s support… we just want to focus on the Xbox and Windows versions.”

Unfortunately, if you expected discourse on Twitter to be any different, then you’d be sorely mistaken. When questioned, yet again, about what the implications of a console launch exclusive were, Sammie Kang, the lead community manager for PUBG, stated:

“Yes. This partnership is about allowing our dev team to solely focus on Xbox & PC development and bring PUBG to Xbox players faster.”

With so many people who should be able to easily say whether Battlegrounds will remain exclusive to the Xbox One, the only real conclusion that can be made is that it won’t be and a PlayStation 4 version will be coming eventually (similar to Rise of the Tomb Raider, which found itself in a similar debacle in 2014). A game as popular as Battlegrounds is a pretty big deal and you’d think that Microsoft would be singing from the rooftops if it managed to snag exclusive rights to it. Its silence speaks volumes.

And if you think about it, there’s no particular reason why Battlegrounds Xbox version would be the only console release: what does Bluehole stand to gain out of it? The PS4 remains the best-selling console at the moment and it would be in Bluehole’s best interest to get a piece of the pie while the going is good. Unless Microsoft lured Bluehole in with some amazing deal, ignoring the PS4 would just be hurting the game’s potential.

Of course, the question of whether it will remain exclusive to the Xbox One (it won’t) isn’t the only issue here. Another is that every party involved remains unwilling to flat out admit whats going on when there’s no reason not to. It’s almost comical to think that this story would have gotten far less attention if Battlegrounds status on consoles were confirmed one way or another. Sure, some people would be upset if it were exclusive to Xbox One, but everyone’s mad about something already.

So while we wait for someone to wise up and just tell us what’s going on, fans of the game can look forward to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds full release on PC in late 2017 and Battlegrounds Xbox version at some point in the future.

Check out the full Eurogamer interview here.

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