The ability to trade in-game items between players has been switched off in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds for the foreseeable future – to stop the sale of these items using third-party sites.
In a new blog, PUBG Corp. called the decision a “temporary” measure, but there was no mention of how it might solve the problem, or what timeframe this could take.
To clarify, this does not involve the sale of items via the Steam marketplace. This is about the “personal trade” system which PUBG Corp. says was “supposed to allow friends to trade items without any costs attached”.
Using third-party sites was “essentially an abuse of the system”, the developer concluded. “To prevent this, we’re temporarily turning off personal trades while we search for a better solution. Once we figure out a way to prevent abuse, the restriction will be lifted.”
It’s an interesting stance to take, especially in the wake of the headlines generated last year surrounding third-party sites which enabled gambling, and the recent moves to investigate the practice.
The ability to sell in-game items outside of Steam – where prices can be set at whatever the seller wishes – is one thing. The ability to encourage gambling on these items – and the ability to attract headlines surrounding this practice – is another.
Last year, the Gambling Commission warned parents about gambling websites, calling them “parasites feeding off popular video games”.
“These unlicensed websites are a hidden form of gambling – they’re parasites feeding off popular video games, presenting a clear and present danger to players including kids,” Gambling Commission CEO Sarah Harrison told Eurogamer. “Our prosecution [of FIFA YouTuber Craig “Nepenthez” Douglas] demonstrates that we won’t hesitate to take action.”
It’ll be interesting to see how, and when, PUBG can solve this problem.