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Gaming: PUBG tests free version; Nintendo maintains Switch pricing

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Jan 25, 2019

Today’s gaming developments come down on opposite sides of success and the respective business reactions resulting from them. One, involving an overachieving console, the other involving a beleaguered competitor (and precursor) to the most popular game in the world.

First, let’s get into the Nintendo Switch. With a stellar sales year bolstered by plenty of single-party goodness including the smash (ha ha) hit of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Nintendo is sitting pretty in a field of console competitors and an increasingly online player base. So will anything be changing in the future? According to Variety (from a report by Japanese newspaper The Sankei News), no.

Thanks to the current success, Nintendo isn’t going to alter anything at all — including price — or prepare the Switch’s successor before the time is right. Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa explained in an interview that the company is “not considering a successor or a price cut at this time.” Right now, the focus is on the 20 million Switches sold, which he acknowledges as “an extremely ambitious, but worthwhile achievement.”

However, continuing the Switch’s success will likely depend on the quality of games that Nintendo puts out — since their games in particular (with franchise leaders Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and the former’s racing/partying spin-offs leading the pack) are the sales heavy-hitters. With the recent trouble afflicting Metroid Prime 4’s development, maintaining a steady stream of recognizable hit games is all the more important.

Speaking of hit games, The Verge reports that in order to better compete with battle royale juggernaut Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is testing its own free version. PUBG, which effectively pioneered the genre away from its modded roots, was surpassed by Fortnite after the latecomer offered up a free-to-play experience that wasn’t plagued by bugs or required a high-end machine to play.

Now, with PUBG Lite being tested in Thailand, it seems clear the version was designed to specifically address these issues. PUBG Lite, a standalone game, has its own development team that will work on its exclusive content (like maps and features) that will appear in a game that will be able to be played on less intense graphical settings.

PUBG Lite’s beta only features original Russian-based map Erangel and will only expand to other territories after the test in Thailand.

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