World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth released last month to huge sales numbers for the 14-year old MMO. More than 3.4 million units sold on launch day alone, making the…
On the heels of Bluehole (makes of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) making some accusatory remarks at Fortnite, Epic Games has announced that Fortnite Battle Royale is free for everyone starting today. But only the Battle Royale mode – the main co-op game (called “Save the World”) remains in paid Early Access with a 2018 release date.
Fortnite launched earlier this Summer via Early Access on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The final game will be free-to-play with microtransactions. It combines tower defense with third-person action and up to four player co-op (read our preview of Fortnite).
The PvP Battle Royale mode was a free update to Fortnite earlier this month. It’s designed exactly the same way as PUBG. Up to 100 players begin with nothing but a pickaxe and drop out of a plane over a large island. You have one life to run around, find loot, and kill (or avoid) other players while a shrinking circular zone keeps you moving. Building walls and forts is available, though you find weapons and traps instead of crafting them.
Recently Bluehole Inc made a firm statement noting the similarities between Fortnite and their runaway success, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. PUBG has reached a level of indie fame previously seen only in titans like Minecraft. The latest numbers show it has sold over 10 million copies. It is firmly entrenched as the number one played game on Steam, with over a million players online at any one time.
PUBG is currently only available on PC, whereas Fortnite is available on consoles. PUBG is coming to Xbox One later this year. Both titles are still in Early Access.
Opening up Battle Royale to everyone also comes with a new update to Fortnite. Most importantly this update will add Squads, letting friends form allied teams of up to four players. Other updates include new weapons and UI enhancements.
Fortnite is due to launch in 2018.
Shots fired by Bluehole, Inc, developers of the incredibly popular online Battle Royale game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Today the VP for Bluehole, Chang Han Kim, released a firm statement regarding Fortnite’s newly introduced game mode, Fortnite Battle Royale.
“We’ve had an ongoing relationship with Epic Games throughout PUBG’s development as they are the creators of Unreal Engine 4, the engine we licensed for the game,” said Kim. “After listening to the growing feedback from our community and reviewing the gameplay for ourselves, we are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.”
Seems that PUBG fans were miffed at seeing another game use the exact same concept so quickly, and the company is inclined to agree.
“We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press,” Kim continues. “This was never discussed with us and we don’t feel that it’s right.”
Fortnite launched in July under the Early Access banner, with plans to launch as a free-to-play title with microtransactions next year. The main game features cooperative base-building, exploration, crafting, and tower defense. You can read our Early Access preview here.
Fortnite Battle Royale was recently added as a free update earlier this month. It indeed cribs all of its structure and gameplay from PUBG’s, including parachuting over a large island, gathering weapons and items, and surviving while a shrinking circular zone dictates where you can go.
During the Fortnite Battle Royale announcement trailer, Epic Games Creative Director Donald Mustard specifically referenced PUBG: “We’re huge fans of the Battle Royale genre, and games like PUBG and H1Z1. We thought Fortnite was the perfect world to build one in.”
It was recently announced that Fortnite Battle Royale will be opening up to everyone for free starting September 26.
Conversely PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds released on Steam Early Access in March. Up to 100 players drop onto an island full of weapons and vehicles, and survive to the last person standing. To date it has sold an astonishing 10 million copies, and is firmly entrenched at the top of the Steam sales and player charts. It’s still in Early Access and coming to Xbox One later this year.
Chang Han Kim closed with the following statement, teasing possible legal action: “The PUBG community has and continues to provide evidence of the many similarities as we contemplate further action.”
Since it launched in Early Access in March, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS has remained one of the top-selling games on Steam. The online Battle Royale survival-shooter has officially crossed the two million mark. To celebrate, Bluehole Inc. will host a competitive livestream to raise money for the Gamers Outreach charity. Bluehole will match donations up to $100,000.
“One of the main reasons we were able to hit this sales milestone is that we have a dedicated community who has helped us refine PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS,” said Gang-Seok Kim, CEO of Bluehole, Inc. “We felt this invitational was a great way to give back and are pleased to make this small contribution to the cause. We are glad to support Gamers Outreach in their mission to provide recreation to hospitalized children and help their families cope with long-term treatment.”
The Charity Invitational 2017 livestream is scheduled for Thursday, May 4 from 9 am Pacific/12 pm Eastern to 5 pm Pacific/ 8 pm Eastern. The series of competitions will feature 64 European players and 64 North American players.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to work with PLAYERUNKOWN and the entire BATTLEGROUNDS community on this incredible fundraiser,” said Zach Wigal, Founder of Gamers Outreach. “On behalf of our whole team, we’d like to extend our thanks to everyone involved with this effort. Whether you’re a streamer, donor, or helping to spread the world – your support is truly appreciated!”
PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS is described as an open-world strategic PVP shooter. Up to 64 players are dropped onto a large island with no equipment and only one life. From there they must scavenge weapons and kill anyone they come across, until they’re the last person standing. Thus far it’s received frequent updates and patches from the developers, and it’s a particularly popular game for streamers.
The charity livestream runs Thursday, May 4 beginning at 9 am Pacific/12 pm Eastern on Twitch.
Early in life we are taught to be kind, generous, and unselfish. In short, one of our first lessons in life is to be nice.
In my experience – both personal and with the kids I’ve met – there comes a point in our tweens when we start to question those early lessons. Kids start to explore new ideas and think on their own, and often their revolutionary discovery is that nice people don’t always win. At that age we start to notice that the world isn’t fair and not everyone follows the rules. We grow up thinking that doing the right thing will be rewarded, but, of course, things don’t always work out that way.
Our heroes are supposed to achieve what they want. The villains deserve nothing but their rightful comeuppance. In the real world, however, good people can get cheated, and the bad guys sometimes seem invulnerable to justice.
You can’t blame kids when they develop such cynicism. If there’s no guarantee people will be good to us, why depend on anyone else but ourselves? It can be tough to convince ourselves again that trust, cooperation, and sharing are worth it. It’s tough for young people and it’s tough for adults, too. It means making ourselves vulnerable for uncertain rewards.
The Impact of Video Games
Video games doesn’t always help either. In games, movies, and TV we tend to focus on the tough individualism of our heroes. Individualism makes for great drama, but surviving without trust or dependence is not the most accurate portrayal of how ordinary people succeed. In real life, how well we work with others is the deciding factor in achievement and heroism more often than not.
There are some games out there that teach us the importance of cooperation by resembling reality more closely. They challenge our individualist tropes and teach players about the dynamics and economics of trust and cooperation. These games are not necessarily sweet and cuddly either.
Multiplayer games that can have open player-versus-player rules such as Minecraft, ArcheAge, and ARK: Survival Evolved (to name a few) create situations where trust and cooperation are not guaranteed but are necessary to survival. Being repeatedly defeated by other players is a distinct possibility. Betrayal and double crossing is a definite threat. Going through this with strangers can be tough, but it also closely mimics real life.
We rarely have the benefit of only working with family or close friends. We need strangers to get through life and thrive. Some strangers will become our greatest friends and others will be horrible to us. It takes bravery to take a chance on someone, but the rewards are well worth it.
You wouldn’t assume that games that specifically have no rules regarding a player’s aggression are an arena to learn trust, but placing hostility or trust in the hands of the players are exactly what makes these games ideal for the lesson.
In an open PvP game, players initially have an instinct to kill rather than risk being killed. On an open PvP server in Minecraft, for example, gameplay can be frustrating at first. With everyone at each other’s throats, players struggle to establish a cave to live in, much less an elaborate castle. This state of mutually assured destruction makes gameplay slow and tedious. At some point, however, someone takes a chance and trusts. It may start off with only a couple of players. The advantage of many over the one, however, quickly becomes apparent.
In many games there are challenges that are too large for even one guild to tackle. The darkest caverns of ARK or the giant krakens of ArcheAge may be too daunting for a single group. Alliances are forged. Trust – even if it is fleeting – is invested for the sake of a common goal.
I can assure you that the open-ended games make for some of the best stories and lasting impressions, as well. I still remember the various team-ups and capers my friends and I would get up to over a decade ago on Neverwinter Nights servers. We would watch each other’s backs, help people just starting out, and mete out justice as best we could.
ArcheAge was another game I played where cooperation was required and chances had to be taken. On the open seas anyone could attack anyone else – even within the same faction. You were safer if you travelled together with someone. As a group you could fend off the pirates and bandits along the trade routes. You could invite strangers to travel with you; however, you always had to wonder if you had just invited a thief into your own company. There were folks we helped across the sea who joined our guild or became reliable allies. There were a couple who gained notoriety for stabbing us in the back.
A Little Economics
John Forbes Nash, notable for his 1994 Nobel Prize in economics and his film autobiography A Beautiful Mind, described a concept known as The Nash Equilibrium. The concept illustrates that, given that Player 1 knows what Player 2’s likely strategy is, Player 1 will not change their strategy.
It happens all the time in our daily lives. While driving we feel comfortable changing lanes because we assume the person behind the spot we’re moving to won’t speed up. We know their strategy so we don’t change ours. If they do speed up or otherwise act reckless on the road, we no longer have the equilibrium we expected and start to re-evaluate our strategy.
Game theory often uses matrices to help us look at how we make choices. In simple terms, when a player encounters another player they have the option to attack or stay peaceful. Disregarding that friends and family likely trust each other, everyone on an open PvP server starts off not knowing how anyone else will act.
To Player 1 assessing their options, without knowing how Player 2 would likely act, it makes the most sense to attack. At best Player 1 would get the drop on someone and most likely keep their own inventory. At worst Player 1 has a fighting chance if both Players 1 and 2 attack each other.
Likewise, for Player 2, not knowing the likely choice for Player 1 means attacking is the best option.
Overall, however, this isn’t the absolute best outcome for either player, so how do we get to the optimal outcome? The answer is trust. How we get there is where the real lesson comes in. Someone has to be willing to take a chance and trust.
A code of ethics is a good starting place. If Player 1 has resolved to never attack anyone, they will lose a few times, but they will become known as a trustworthy person. Suddenly the chance for someone to react peacefully to them becomes much higher. Knowing that Player 1 is trustworthy, Player 2’s best choice is always to be peaceful. Our equilibrium point has changed, and the good guys who cooperate and keep their word have ultimately won.
It’s a great lesson that those who mistrust and are known to be distrustful are doomed to scrape by at the Minecraft Creeper’s mercy. The players who refuse to give peace a chance become pariahs and are at a disadvantage because they are distrusted by everyone.
Sometimes what we need to restore our faith in others is seeing that those who take a chance on cooperation end up with the nice castle and share it with their friends.