POPULATION: ONE, the hit battle royale shooter from BigBox VR, is going free-to-play next month on the Quest platform.

Initially released in late 2020, Population: One has essentially become VR’s de facto battle royale, bringing large-scale cross-platform battles to Quest and SteamVR headsets.

Now Meta-owned studio BigBox VR says it’s going free-to-play on Quest 2 and Quest Pro starting on March 9th, which will also include a host of new goodies to previous owners of the game, coming in addition to an update which will include new content.

Notably, it’s not going free-to-play on PC VR platforms; both the Oculus Rift and Steam version of the game will be priced at $20 starting March 9th, which is a $10 discount from the original price.

Those PC versions will include 1,200 ($20) worth of the in-game currency Bureau Gold (BG), something the studio says is being done to prevent potential cheaters from easily making a new account on Steam/Rift platforms.

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All owners of the game before the March 9th at 10AM PT free-to-play update will get a bundle, called the ‘Original Banana Bundle Rewards’, which the studio estimates at an $80 value. This includes:

  • Legendary “PJ Potassium” Character Skin
  • Legendary “Prestige” Character Skins (4)
  • Rare “Prestige” Full Gun Set (14)
  • Exclusive Title: “Original Banana”
  • Exclusive Calling Card: “Celebration”
  • Exclusive Spray: “I Was Here”
  • 1,000 Bureau Gold
  • Full Access to the Level Progression Track
Image courtesy BigBox VR

There’s also a host of new content coming to the game to kick off the free-to-play update on March 9th, including a new single player mode with dynamic bots and in-game rewards, new player lobbies, a larger sandbox limit of 12 and 24 players, and an all-new shop featuring over 100 new character and weapon skin. You can check out the full changelog in the Meta blogpost.

As for the upcoming roadmap, BigBox VR says both a Sandbox Battle Royale Mode and Sandbox Battle Royale Playlist are slated to arrive on March 30th. The studio says we should also expect new weapons, updates on the Evolving Map, Sandbox features & modes, and matchmaking improvements in the near future.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • another juan

    and yet, the usual people will find some way to criticize meta because of this.

    • Ookami

      no such comments yet…

  • THANK YOU, FINALLY. I’ve wanted to try it out for ages but the price of entry was just too high for a VR pubg, I’m fine with microtransactions in a game like this if I can try it for free

  • Tommy

    I’ve not tried this one. Always thought it looked too much like Fortnite. I’ll definitely check it out for free though

    • ViRGiN

      It’s an fps for people who find pavlov/contractors semi realistic controls too complicated. If you’re a fan of contractors, you likely won’t like this one. It’s babified shooter in battle royale style. Just a notch above rec room.

      • Tommy

        That has been my thinking and why I haven’t jumped on sooner. From the looks of it, I probably won’t like it but I’ll give it an honest try. I’ve been wrong before.

    • MOT

      It’s alright. A bit janky but fun nonetheless.

  • Yeshaya

    Can you currently do 2 player coop with and vs bots? I have a friend I’d love to try this out with, but we’re both pretty meh at shooters so I don’t want us dragging down some poor 3rd player on our squad.

    • Eric Lavallee

      Not currently

  • ViRGiN

    Thankfully, it’s not going to be on pcvr for free.

    • TechnoHunter

      Why? Game changer if they provided it on the PSVR.

      • kakek

        Because he hates PCVR and wish for it’s demise, and hates every PCVR player.
        Or at least that’s the character he plays for trolling here.

      • ViRGiN

        Cheaters is one reason; another is that devs needs to see potential of _paid_ games. Do you really want a huge chunk of leftover PCVR base to be tied to a free game? That isn’t going to grow the market. Gorilla Tag proved that it can be free on Quest, and paid on PCVR and still TOP 3 game by player count. PCVR users are subsidizing Quest games now lol.

  • sfmike

    My only worry is with this coming to PCVR will we now actually see all the hacks that people complain of but haven’t been that actually relevant but might now become an epidemic?

    • ViRGiN

      hacking in vr has been all but proven. when was the last time you have seen any hacking evidence in the past 3 years? and why those hacks are never available to anyone?
      i’m not saying it’s not impossible, or that it did not happen super early on in some multiplayer games, but to this day, christmas noobs keep repeating nothing but ‘cheatengine’, and yet nobody is capable of actually using it to cheat. Existence of the most generic hacking tools does not mean people are cheating in VR.

      also, wtf are you talking about? game has been on PCVR forever. were you too busy finishing alyx for 20th time?

  • Wow, this is huge. Many more people will enter the game now that is free. It will be interesting to see if this will be economically sustainable or will have problems like Echo VR

  • Admiral Major

    Nice!

  • MOT

    Any chance of a Resident Evil 8 VR review on psvr2. Uploadvr havent bothered reviewing it either but they are generally next to useless.

  • TechnoHunter

    Fortnite VR evolved!? Hopefully this gets more players! Cannot wait how this impacts the VR community! :D