The biggest video game of 2017 just passed another major milestone

Having sold over 6 million copies in just four months — making over $US150 million in the process — “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” is a bona fide blockbuster hit.

What’s even more impressive is that the game technically isn’t finished — it’s only available through Steam, the world’s largest digital game store, as an “Early Access” title. That means you can buy it, and play it, but it’s not considered a finished product. And even in that state, millions of people have bought “Battlegrounds.”

Better yet: At any given point in a day, hundreds of thousands of people are playing “Battlegrounds.” It’s the No. 3 most-played game on Steam, with nearly 500,000 concurrent players:

Steam stats (July 31, 2017)ValveThis was measured on July 31, 2017 around 10:45 a.m. using the Steam stats page.

That may not sound terribly impressive, but it’s an insanely important metric: Steam is, by far, the largest game platform on the planet. Somewhere in the vicinity of 200 million people actively use Steam; being the No. 3 game on the platform, in terms of concurrent players, is a huge deal.

The top two spots are permanently occupied by “DOTA 2,” and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” — the former is a free game, and the latter is a $US15 game, and both are created/operated by Valve, the same company in that runs Steam. Thus, being the third-most played game on Steam is like being number one.

The game’s creative director, Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene, took to Twitter to celebrate:

As Greene points out, not only is “Battlegrounds” steadily holding the No. 3 spot, but it now holds the record for “highest peak player count of any non-Valve game.” This is an especially incredible statistic — the game’s only been available since March, and it’s an unfinished game, yet it’s competing with the likes of “Grand Theft Auto V” and “Fallout 4” and dozens of other heavy-hitters. 

There’s a simple explanation for why it’s doing so well: It’s an unbelievably good game.

More than just a bizarre name, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” is a brilliant concept for a game: 100 people on a massive island, armed with their wits and a scavenge-able arsenal, fighting to the death. Whoever survives at the end of the match wins — and there can only be one. 

PlayerUnknown's BattlegroundsBluehole StudiosIn images, ‘Battlegrounds’ looks like a shooting game. In reality, it’s a game about survival. Shooting is just part of survival.

The future of “Battlegrounds” is even brighter.

The game is expected to reach “1.0” by the end of 2017, and it should arrive on the Xbox One in the same time frame. All of which is to say one thing: Expect to hear a lot more about “Battlegrounds” as the year goes on. 

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