PUBG's maker will launch a mobile sequel to the hit game in November


PUBG's maker is launching a sequel to its hit battle royale video game in November, starting on mobile phones. — Bloomberg

The mobile sequel to PUBG: Battlegrounds, the 2017 game that pioneered the battle royale genre, is launching Nov 11.

Seoul-based Krafton Inc. has staked much of its future on expanding PUBG into an intellectual property juggernaut spanning different games and genres of entertainment, and PUBG: New State will mark the first big test of that strategy.

The smartphone game is launching in more than 200 countries and in 17 different languages and it’s already had over 50 million pre-registrations, the company said.

Set in 2051, the futuristic title will feature improved graphics and an expansive new battle map for up to 100 players. It will be playable on iOS and Android and the company has conducted a series of early tests with select participants, which will wrap with two days of final testing at the end of this month.

New State is the biggest debut since PUBG’s original launch and is seen as instrumental to Krafton’s diversification strategy. The company got off to a rocky start on public markets in August, falling as much as 20% after its initial offering, however the stock has staged a recovery in recent weeks and is now back at its IPO price. Krafton relies on PUBG for 97% of its income.

"PUBG: New State inherits the core of the PUBG IP and will have a competitiveness in and of itself on the global market,” Kim Chang-han, chief executive officer of Krafton, said during an online showcase. Kim has previously talked about the company’s plans to expand the fantasy universe with animated shows, web cartoons and movies.

Sales of the new game are expected to reach around 2.2tril won (RM7.8bil) in 2022, according to a note written by Kim Dong-hee, analyst at Meritz Securities Co. China’s regulatory crackdown on the games sector will have limited impact on Krafton, Kim said, and the new title will further reduce the company’s reliance on the Chinese market.

Krafton plans to release another PUBG-related game on consoles and PC by next year as well as a survival horror game in 2022 that will depict the PUBG universe three centuries into the future. – Bloomberg

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