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Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is being delayed

Early access development will continue until the end of the year

Bluehole Inc.
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The full release of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, the survival shooter that has sold more than four million copies while in Steam’s Early Access program, is being delayed until the fourth quarter of 2017.

Battlegrounds creator Brendan “Playerunknown” Greene posted a short update on Steam overnight. He wrote that while he has publicly said that he and the team at Bluehole were committed to remaining in early access for no more than six months, that window has become too limiting.

“Over the past few months I have done a lot of interviews,” Greene said, “and in many of them, I said we hoped to be out of early access six months after we first launched. I’ve come to realize that restricting the window to a specific month could hinder us from delivering a fully featured game and/or lead to disappointment within the community if the launch deadline is not met.

“We have decided that we are going push the full launch back a bit from the initial six-month timeframe, but want to assure you that we are still planning a full release before the end of Q4 2017.”

Battlegrounds launched in late March, which would have put its self-imposed six month deadline somewhere around late September. A move back another three months isn’t all that grievous an injury to the community, especially with all the new content that the team has in the pipeline. There’s the little things, like adding new weapons and loot balancing. But there’s also custom servers, that have fostered community growth around streamers, a new vaulting and climbing system, a planned zombie mode and full 3D replays. There are also two news maps in development, both being built out of Bluehole’s new office in Madison, Wisconsin which is in the process of staffing up.

At least one fan went to Twitter to confront Greene directly about the delay.

“I've seen so many games do the same thing time and time again. Four million copies [sold],” they said, “it should be happening sooner [with that kind of] popularity.”

Greene replied saying, “It takes time to find the right people for the team.”

The announcement of the delay certainly hasn’t slowed down the game’s Twitch audience. It’s still in the service’s list of the top five most-viewed games. Nor has it apparently slowed down its sales. We’ll see what SteamSpy has to say as their data takes about three days to collate.

Polygon has reached out to Bluehole to see how the delay impacts the team’s planned release on Xbox One.

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