One of the best-selling games of 2017 on Steam, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds caused quite a stir last year - and that looks to continue in 2018. Brendan Greene is a pioneer of the Battle Royale genre and creator of the Battle Royale game mode on the ARMA series and 'King of the Kill' in H1Z1, and is working on this new title with a veteran team at Bluehole.
Following the sale of over 30m copies of PUBG and 3.1 million concurrent players on Steam, the game has officially left Early Access on PC with the 1.0 update. Here, we detail what that update included, along with the latest PUBG news including rumours that PUBG could be released on PS4.
What's new in PUBG?
New map: Savage
The most recent addition to PUBG is the new 'Savage' map, which is half the size of the other two maps currently available in the game. Sadly this is currently only available on a separate testing server that you can access only with a unique key. However, knowing Bluehole's development practices up to this date, it won't be very long before we see it on the live servers.
This new map is not only great new content to explore, but can also be seen as a response to the growing popularity of Fortnite. The map is smaller, weapon spawns are more frequent and the terrain is much more forgiving.
This promotes much faster-paced games, with weapons far more readily available, and terrain that favours medium range engagements. This all means that you can get into a game, and find equipment and fights much more quickly than on one of PUBG's larger maps.
Will PUBG ever be released on PS4?
Now that the top-selling Battle Royale game is now available on both PC and Xbox One, the focus for us at home has shifted to the PS4, the best-selling console of the generation. PUBG devs would be crazy not to bring it to a platform with so many users, right?
It seems that PS4 support is on the cards for PUBG, but it doesn't sound like it'll be coming anytime soon. PUBG Corp CEO Chang Han Kim revealed to Inven Global that the final goal is to "launch the title on every platform", although he mentioned that PUBG is still an "exclusive title on Xbox One for some time" and that the company wants to "focus on completing the Xbox One PUBG for now".
But why is it so difficult for PUBG to come to PS4? According to Kim, it's down to Sony. While Steam and Microsoft offer early access programs for games, PlayStation doesn't. This requires any PS4 game to meet a certain standard - a standard that can't be met while the game is still in development.
"Early Access on Steam and Game Preview on Xbox One are like pre-release, so they don’t have a restriction on quality," said Kim. "However, [PlayStation] is very strict about this. There were cases where a game took six months more to launch even when it was already completed. We are still in the stage of learning the console development environment and console gamers’ taste. We need to think about other platforms after evaluating and completing the Xbox One version first."
It doesn't mean it isn't going to happen, though. Speaking to PlayerUnknown himself, Brendan Greene told Trusted Reviews that "you never know where it might go" with regards to PUBG on other platforms. "Right now we want to get those two platforms done. Especially with Xbox, we really want to get it to a 1.0 state."
"It’s early access, so the next ‘x’ number of months we’ll continue to work on [the Xbox One version] until we get to 1.0" Greene stated. We imagine that a PS4 port would appear shortly after the 1.0 release of the Xbox variant, something we expect to happen before the end of 2018.
PUBG Xbox One performance issues
Since the launch of PUBG on Xbox One on 12 December 2017, gamers have complained about shockingly low frame rates - as low as 17fps - and a myriad of bugs that plague the game. It comes as a shock to some, especially when you consider the backing that Microsoft has provided.
Bluehole Inc and Microsoft Studios have heard the criticism, and are releasing a handful of updates for console gamers that should help alleviate some of the biggest performance issues. The various patch notes claim that they include visual and performance improvements, alias fixes, animation glitch fixes, control bugs and more.
The most recent update, which hit the game on 8/1/2018, specifically targets frame rate improvements and introduces an aim accelerator slider, allowing gamers to adjust the aim sensitivity - a complaint since launch. The developer was keen to point out that given the number of issues with the port, this is likely to be the first of many updates, but it should start to improve the overall gameplay experience nonetheless.
It's still not a perfect experience though - there's still a substantial amount of lag when playing, even on the Xbox One X, and controls are a little unintuitive. The good news is that the team is working on it, and the quality of the Xbox One port should improve over time.
Following the incredible success of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds on PC, the multiplayer shooter has finally made its debut outside of China, where the game launched initially. The full PUBG port was developed by Tencent, the same company that is working on the localised version of the full game for the Chinese market.
While the on-screen controls may provide a bit of a learning curve for PC and console gamers, the free-to-play game offers a decent experience. In fact, it offers mechanics that we'd like to see introduced into the PC and Xbox variants soon; namely highlighting items that you need to pick up when scavenging, and automatically equipping attachments.
Rather interestingly, PUBG Mobile will put you up against bots for the first few matches. This gives you time to adjust to the on-screen controls without embarrassing yourself against real players. The game is available on iOS and Android, and is available to download right now.
Is PUBG down?
As with any online service, server downtime can cause issues worldwide - and that seems to be what happens with PUBG periodically, with players reporting connectivity issues around the world. It begs the question, how can you check the PUBG server status?
To check whether PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is down, you can check third-party service status websites like Down Detector. These crowd-sourced sites provide players with a way of letting each other know that there's an issue, and even provides features like a heat map to see if the outage is localised.
You can also check the PUBG Twitter account, as we imagine that'll be the way that developers communicate with fans about the server status.
PUBG minimum PC specs
- OS: 64-bit Windows 7/8.1/10
- Processor: Intel Core i3-4340/AMD FX-6300
- Memory: 6GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 2GB/AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB
- DirectX: Version 11
- Network: Broadband Internet connection
- Storage: 30GB available space