PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds sells 10 million copies

Let's put the viral game sensation in context.

Sean Hollister
Sean Hollister Senior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
2 min read

Insane. Ridiculous. Unbelievable. Those are just a few of the words I'd use to describe the success of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

PUBG has now officially sold 10 million copies since March, which is a feat for any game without the words "Grand Theft Auto," "Mario," "Call of Duty" or "Pokemon" in the name.

But PUBG isn't just any game. At the time of this writing, it's still a buggy, unfinished Steam Early Access title with only a single level you can play.

It's a heck of a level, mind you: you and 99 other players parachute onto an 8-square-kilometer island filled with deadly weaponry, and use your wits to be the last man standing. It's one of the most stressful, addictive things I've ever played

Enlarge Image
Sean Hollister/CNET

So 10 million? Bonkers. And sales only appear to be accelerating. As you can see in my handy-dandy chart, the game went from selling 1 million copies a month to 2 million a month back in June, and now it might even be doing 3 million a month. 

Let's put that in context. Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which also released in March, only sold 3.92 million copies as of July. 

Of the top 50 best-selling games of all time (according to Wikipedia), only one might serve as a historical precedent: Minecraft, which was similarly released unfinished before its rise to fame. (Minecraft has sold over 121 million copies.)

But even Minecraft didn't initially have viral popularity like this:

And PUBG hasn't even arrived on Xbox yet. That'll happen this fall.

So you might be wondering: Who the heck is PlayerUnknown, and where did this game come from? If so, you might want to check out our huge interview with the man behind it all