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In the game, up to one hundred players parachute onto an island and scavenge for weapons and equipment to kill others while avoiding getting killed themselves. The available safe area of the game’s map decreases in size over time, directing surviving players into tighter areas to force encounters. PUBG was first released for Microsoft Windows via Steam’s early access beta program in March 2017, with a full release in December 2017. PUBG Mobile, a free-to-play mobile game version for Android and iOS, was released in 2018, in addition to a port for the PlayStation 4. PUBG is one of the best-selling, highest-grossing, and most-played video games of all time. The game has sold over 70 million copies on personal computers and game consoles as of 2020, in addition to PUBG Mobile accumulating 1 billion downloads as of March 2021 and grossing over $4.3 billion on mobile devices as of December 2020. PUBG received positive reviews from critics, who found that while the game had some technical flaws, it presented new types of gameplay that could be easily approached by players of any skill level and was highly replayable.
Players can choose to enter the match solo, duo, or with a small team of up to four people. Each match starts with players parachuting from a plane onto one of the four maps, with areas of approximately 8 8 kilometers, 6 6 kilometers, and 4 4 kilometers in size. The plane’s flight path across the map varies with each round, requiring players to quickly determine the best time to eject and parachute to the ground. Players start with no gear beyond customized clothing selections which do not affect gameplay. Once they land, players can search buildings, ghost towns, and other sites to find weapons, vehicles, armor, and other equipment. These items are procedurally distributed throughout the map at the start of a match, with certain high-risk zones typically having better equipment. Killed players can be looted to acquire their gear as well. During the course of the match, random regions of the map are highlighted in red and bombed, posing a threat to players who remain in that area. In both cases, players are warned a few minutes before these events, giving them time to relocate to safety. A plane will fly over various parts of the playable map occasionally at random, or wherever a player uses a flare gun, and drop a loot package, containing items that are typically unobtainable during normal gameplay. These packages emit highly visible red smoke, drawing interested players near it and creating further confrontations. At the completion of each round, players gain in-game currency based on their performance. The currency is used to purchase crates that contain cosmetic items for character or weapon customization.