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Is PUBG Free on Steam in 2022? A Friendly and In-Depth Look

Hey there! If you‘re wondering whether PUBG is free to play on Steam these days, you‘ve come to the right place. My name‘s Claude and I‘ll be your guide through everything you need to know about PUBG‘s current free-to-play status for 2022.

Let‘s kick things off with a quick answer to our main question:

Yes, the base PUBG game is now completely free on Steam!

That‘s right – as of January 2022, anyone can download and play PUBG directly through Steam without paying a cent!

This is a huge shift from PUBG‘s original $30 price tag. Free-to-play is here to stay, so feel free to invite your friends to drop in and battle it out.

Now you might be wondering…if PUBG itself is free, how does the game make money? That‘s where the optional Battlegrounds Plus subscription comes in. We‘ll break that down soon.

First, let‘s quickly recap a few key facts about PUBG:

  • PUBG stands for "PlayerUnknown‘s Battlegrounds".

  • It kicked off the global battle royale craze upon launching in 2017.

  • PUBG pits 100 players against each other on massive maps.

  • The last player/team left alive wins the coveted "chicken dinner".

  • Over 75 million copies have been sold across all platforms.

With that quick refresher out of the way, let‘s dive deeper into the state of PUBG on Steam in 2022!

PUBG‘s player base is still huge with over 200,000 concurrent players

I know some of you might be skeptical whether PUBG still has an active community these days. After all, new battle royale games like Apex Legends and Warzone have exploded onto the scene since PUBG‘s launch.

But get this – according to SteamCharts, PUBG had 235,514 concurrent players at its February 2022 peak. For comparison, that‘s:

  • 3x more than Borderlands 3
  • 4x more than Destiny 2
  • 13x more than Halo Infinite

In fact, PUBG currently sits among the top 12 most played games on all of Steam.

And player counts have been surging since the shift to free-to-play, with numbers up 230% year-on-year. Very impressive for a 5 year old game!

Clearly, PUBG still has tons of loyal fans actively playing. And thankfully, the Steam reviews reflect this continued popularity too.

Since going free-to-play, 94% of recent PUBG reviews are positive. Players are loving that it‘s now so easy to get friends into the game.

So rest assured – PUBG has a thriving community with quick matchmaking times across all modes. You‘ll have no trouble finding other players to battle against!

Next let‘s break down everything you get in the base free version…

PUBG‘s core maps, modes, and weapons are 100% free for all players

Transitioning to a free-to-play model can sometimes result in developers removing content to sell back piecemeal. Thankfully, that‘s not the case with PUBG on Steam!

Every piece of core PUBG content is still fully playable for free, including:

  • All 8 Maps: Erangel, Miramar, Sanhok, Vikendi, Karakin, Paramo, Haven, and Taego

  • Major Modes: Solos, Duos, Squads, and Ranked

  • Limited Time Modes: Featured event playlists

  • Weapons: An extensive arsenal of primary weapons, sidearms, melee weapons, throwables, and attachments

  • Vehicles: Cars, trucks, buggies, motorcycles, boats, jet skis, gliders, and more

So if you enjoy Battle Royale gameplay, that thrill of the hunt as the playzone closes in, and the satisfying "chicken dinner" – PUBG delivers 100% free of charge.

No need to pay anything extra just to access the maps, modes, and gear that make PUBG so iconic. And this applies to cosmetics too…

  • All clothing, weapon skins, parachutes, emotes and other cosmetics can be earned for free just by playing the game and leveling up your account.

This generosity makes PUBG one of the fairest free-to-play titles out there. Considering how much gameplay variety is available without spending a penny, you can‘t complain!

Battlegrounds Plus adds nice bonuses, but isn‘t essential

Alright, so by now you know the entire core PUBG experience is free. But what exactly do you get by subscribing to the $12.99 Battlegrounds Plus Pass?

Think of it as a bunch of bonus perks that enrich the experience, without gatekeeping any must-have content or gameplay features.

Here are the key things included with Battlegrounds Plus:

  • +100% XP Gain: Rank up and unlock rewards twice as fast.

  • Detailed Statistics: Lifetime stats across all modes, like K/D ratio and win rate.

  • Survival Mastery: Extra progression system with prestige ranks to pursue.

  • Custom Matches: Create matches just for you and friends with full control.

  • Ranked Mode: Compete against similarly skilled opponents for bragging rights.

  • In-game Medals: Tons of permanent achievements to collect.

  • Monthly Care Package: Free skins, items, and G-coin valued around $10.

For hardcore PUBG fans who play regularly, Battlegrounds Plus is fantastic value – you quickly recoup the $13 through care packages alone.

But more casual players who just want to sample the gameplay shouldn‘t feel pressured. PUBG truly delivers a full, unhindered experience at no upfront cost.

Now, what if you bought PUBG before it went free-to-play? Well don‘t worry, you‘re also covered…

Existing PUBG owners get Battlegrounds Plus for free

To ensure a smooth transition for PUBG‘s loyal existing player base, Krafton made Battlegrounds Plus free for all previous owners:

  • If you bought PUBG on Steam before January 2022, you automatically get a permanent free Battlegrounds Plus subscription.

  • This means you keep all the bonuses and perks completely free each month. Thank you for supporting early access!

Essentially, if you already owned PUBG then the shift to free-to-play changes nothing for you. Just enjoy your improved stats and other new goodies!

Of course, bringing in droves of new players does impact the overall skill level. So how does PUBG cater to veterans versus newcomers?

PUBG eases new players in, while still appealing to veterans

Here‘s where things get interesting – PUBG walks a fine line between welcoming newbies while keeping hardcore fans happy.

For brand new players, PUBG has gradually implemented features like:

  • Tutorial Missions: These optional objectives teach the basics across several matches.

  • Weapon Mastery: As you gain proficiency with each weapon, hints will pop up dynamically in-game.

  • Bot Matches: Your first few rounds will populate lobbies with up to 80 bots to get your feet wet against basic AI.

  • Region Locking: Helps keep latencies and languages consistent in each server region.

  • Novice Queue: Your first ~30 matches will have a higher percentage of new players.

At the same time, PUBG hasn‘t forgotten about its loyal fan base by adding features like:

  • Ranked Mode: Separate progression and stricter skill matching for veterans.

  • Survival Mastery: Additional progression beyond the standard levels, aimed at dedicated players.

  • Esports: Ongoing competitions, leagues, and high prize pool tournaments.

  • Custom Matches: Create matches limited to friends for serious play.

  • Leaderboards: See where you rank on the global stage across various stats.

  • Reworked Maps: Graphical overhauls of classics like Erangel and Miramar to keep things fresh.

So in summary, PUBG offers a decent onboarding experience for new players, while still incentivizing veterans to keep pursuing mastery thanks to ongoing expansions.

That covers most of the basics about PUBG‘s free-to-play shift on Steam! To wrap things up, here are answers to a few common specific questions:

Can you link PUBG progress across PC, console, and Stadia?

  • PC and Consoles: No, these platform accounts remain completely separate.

  • Steam and Stadia: Yes, you can link PUBG progress between these two PC platforms.

Does PUBG have cross-platform multiplayer?

  • PC, Xbox & PlayStation: Yes, but PlayStation players are limited to cross-play with PC only.

  • Party-based matchmaking: If a PC + Xbox party queues together, they will match against PC players for fairness.

How large is the PUBG install size?

  • Around 30GB – 50GB depending on your region.

What are PUBG‘s system requirements?

  • Minimum Specs: i5-4430, 8GB RAM, GTX 960 2GB
  • Recommended Specs: i5-6600K, 16GB RAM, GTX 1060 6GB

Final verdict: Is PUBG worth playing in 2022?

For fans of tactical and methodical battle royale gameplay, absolutely! The shift to free-to-play has given PUBG a welcome population boost and removed the barriers to entry.

It lacks some quality of life features compared to newer games, and you‘ll go through some growing pains starting out. But if you stick with it, PUBG offers an unmatched level of weapon mastery and skill-based chicken dinner hunting.

Thanks for sticking with me on this PUBG free-to-play deep dive! Let me know if you have any other questions – I‘m happy to chat more in the comments.

See you on the Battlegrounds 🙂



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.