Now, let’s have perspective: the red bars are the second biggest Steam game, so PUBG is still a huge king of the hill. But if I was an investor, I’d be happier about my DOTA2 papers than my PUBG. This rapid rise with rapid descent is the shape of “buy once, consume content and go away” games, not long-lasting massive online games. This can have two reasons.
One is that PUBG is a buy-to-play game with no subscription and very little reason to spend on cosmetics. On first person shoot view, you don’t even see your cosmetics. People found it so much of a distraction that cosmetic loot drops were removed from the game world. Maybe this is the natural way of things, maybe the devs never meant it to last. After all, a lasting online game must have some form of constant revenue from players, either as subscription or frequent cash shop buys. If they didn’t have either, the plan could simply be: buy the game, have some fun, put it on the shelf. Many things support this idea, like the little care for game-ruining bugs (flying bikes) and rampart hacks. There is also little permanence: while there is a toplist, there are no rewards to make people care for it. So they play for fun, which has the problem that after you jumped School thousand times, it simply stops being fun.
The other possibility is that the game was meant to last and they are screwing it up. This possibility is supported by PvP nature (people play PvP games for decades, since every battle is different and they want to improve) and that they made huge efforts to make streamers feel welcome, which has no point if you don’t want to be around a few years down the road.
Let’s assume the second and see what’s the problem. Not that the game is somehow “bad”. The game was worse few months and fixes ago at the peak. The problem is that the focus should be creating permanence instead of creating a “better” game. A “better” game might have more buyers but they will quit soon. If you want your game to stay for years, you shouldn’t ask “what would make the game better”, but “what would make the guy who liked it and played 500 battles log in for the 501th”.
Why would someone do it, when he already experienced every type of content? If you’d ask a Starcraft player, he’d answer “to win”. This is the ultimate drive of PvP games. So devs should focus on making people want to win. That means some kind of reward, preferably some form of power. Like if you finish in top half in last season, you can pick a power perk (like +10% damage, +10% HP, jumping with a pistol and one clip, jumping with your favorite gun but no ammo, … ). If you finish in top 10%, you can pick 2, for top 1% 3, for top 0.1% 4. You’d also get some icon next to your name in the kill feed. This would motivate the players to try to actually win instead of just jumping School.
Oh, they might as well figure out how to get money constantly, like a $10 ranked pass. You can play quick games (jumping school) for free, but if you want to get ranked and get the rewards, you need to pony up a few bucks every 2 months. It’s not much to ask.