Newzoo report examines PUBG’s meteoric rise

Research firm Newzoo has released a new report looking into the meteoric rise of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (“PUBG”). The shooter has sold millions of copies, and has become the second most viewed game on Twitch within three months of launch.

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PUBG’s success is outlined by Newzoo’s recently launched PC Game Tracker. In July, PUBG was the 6th most popular game among core PC gamers worldwide, with 10.8% of gamers playing the title. This data is derived from Overwolf’s user base of 12 million PC gaming enthusiasts across 42 countries. 

Here are the most notable headlines from the report: 

PUBG reaches the summit in Japan

Japan remains a console-focused market so the number of PC users is fairly small compared to other territories. Even so, PUBG has quickly made its mark in Japan, quickly becoming the game of choice amongst core PC gamers.

  • 25.4% of core PC gamers played the game in July, 5% more than second title League of Legends;
  • The average session length of 69.5 minutes is amongst the highest in the world. 

Newzoo suggests that the success of the title is likely because of the heavy influence of the cult Japanese movie Battle Royale. The game follows a similar theme, whereby 100 players are sent to an island where they need to find weapons and ultimately be the last man standing in order to win. 

It’s not just Japan that’s aboard the PUBG hype train

As shown by the astonishing sales figures, PUBG is not just popular in the one country. In fact, the game’s popularity spans several countries around the world. Here’s a few highlights from Newzoo’s findings: 

  • 22.5% of core PC gamers in Norway;
  • 21.9% of core PC gamers in Australia;
  • 17.1% of core PC gamers in New Zealand;
  • 16% of core PC gamers in the US;
  • 14.6% of core PC gamers in China. 

The 16% of players in the United States account for a whopping 5.4% of the total playtime on PUBG in July. China has clearly exhibited the largest growth, with only 7.9% of core PC gamers playing in June compared to July’s figures of 14.6%. 

It’s hard to believe that PUBG hasn’t been a smash hit in every jurisdiction based on the incredible figures. However, the following countries have most definitely not seen a substantial uptake thus far:

  • 5.7% of core PC gamers in Russia;
  • 2.4% of core PC gamers in Poland;
  • 2.3% of core PC gamers in Bulgaria;
  • 1.3% of core PC gamers in Serbia.

The 1.3% of Serbia is the lowest recorded by Newzoo, and the research company suggests that the regions general love of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and World of Tanks means that not as many people have made the plunge into Bluehole’s invention. 

But how has the popularity of PUBG affected other games? 

Even for gamers, there’s only so many hours in the day. Naturally, when a new title comes to the fore, those who play it are often playing one game more than another. Newzoo has analysed the churn from each title towards PUBG in July.

The report looks at two things:

  1. Crossover: Gamers who played PUBG along with another title in a certain month;
  2. Churn rate: Expressed as a share of the gamers who played a certain game for at least two months, but then stopped and are playing another game or games. 

In terms of crossover, Overwatch came out on top with 24.6% of its gamers playing both titles in July. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive came in close behind with 20.7% crossover.

Interestingly, in terms of churn the results were similar. Of the people who stopped playing Overwatch in July, 25.2% started playing PUBG. In Japan, the churn was 54.7% which was the highest recorded.

With regards to CS:GO, the churn was 21.1% globally, and 31.9% in the U.S. The likes of Minecraft and World of Warcraft have also taken a hit, with the churn being 14.2% and 19.6% respectively. 

Esports Insider says: Interesting findings from Newzoo. The PUBG rise has been nothing short of remarkable, and it’ll be interesting to see if it sustains. It’s no surprise that Overwatch has the most churn with CS:GO second, but with OWL ramping up and competitive CS:GO back underway shortly, will they move back?